Shows E

to come down and see the fraudulent life Jack is leading in the country. If Algy does that, Jack will expose him to Cecily. Nevertheless, Jack is going to change from his mourning clothes, and when he returns he will arrange for Algy to leave on the next train. Algy left alone, he sings a reprise of "A Wicked Man," getting ready to not go anywhere and have a good bit of fun. Act II The act opens at the country manor with the two servants (Effie and Lane) in an embrace. They talk about Algy/Ernest's infatuation with Cecily, but as Effie snuggles up to Lane, she wagers that the two probably haven't gotten 'round to holding hands. In the song "You Can't Make Love" they discuss this to be so because basically all the upper class rules, regulations, manners, morals, money, titles, names, etc. make it very difficult to make love. The servants have it so much easier. In the garden, Algy/Ernest enters and talks with Cecily who is writing in her diary. Cecily informs him that her uncle has informed her that Algy/Ernest has been called back to town. He tells her that he's not leaving just yet because he must first tell Cecily that she is the "visible personification of absolute perfection." She copies his remarks into her diary - something she loves to do. While singing "Lost" he continues to tell her how beautiful she - he's "lost in her spell." She very intently writes it down. They finally embrace, and he confesses that he is hopelessly in love with her and asks her to marry him. She says that she will of course marry him because actually they have been engaged for the last three months. You see, ever since Uncle Jack told her about his wicked younger brother she has been in love with him. She shows him a little ring on her finger she has promised to always wear as a sign of their love. She also has a box of letters from him. She both bought the ring and wrote the letters since she never met him. (She even broke off the engagement once and forgave him.) Upon hearing this, he is so overtaken with love that he kisses her. Most of all, she tells him that she loves the name Earnest. She admits that she could never love someone with a name like Algernon. Algy/ Ernest goes out on some important business - to be christened by Dr. Chausable and have his name changed. Effie announces to Cecily that Gwendolen has arrived to see her Uncle Jack. Jack is off at the rector's doing something (also arranging to be christened) so Cecily talks with Gwendolen. Right from the beginning, the two appear to be good friends. In the song "My Very First Impression," they learn about each other. They also learn that they are both engaged to whom they think is the same man - "Ernest." After a bit of tea and battle, they decide that they now hate each other and are not going to let "Ernest" go off with the other. Jack returns and goes to kiss Gwendolen who pushes him away asking if he is engaged to Cecily. She now learns that he really is Cecily's Uncle Jack. Algy comes in and Cecily points out that he is the real Ernest. Gwendolen exposes him as her cousin, Algernon. Both women find out that they have been deceived. Jack confesses that in truth he never had a wicked brother Ernest. The girls, angry about all that has happened, bond once again and go into the house. Jack is quite upset, but Algy is quite nonplused by it all and simply sits - eating the ladies' leftovers from tea ("The Muffin Song") Jack wants all of this to end and simply wishes that Algy would leave. Gwendolen and Cecily have gone to the morning room of the Manor House and are both upset. Jack and Algy both enter, and after some questioning, admit that they assumed alternate identities only in the hopes of meeting the ladies. The ladies are flattered, but neither cannot get passed the fact that neither man's Christian name is actually Ernest. Both men say that they are going to be christened that very afternoon and change their names for the ladies. The ladies are both so touched by all this that they pledge their "Eternal Devotion" (in song) to the men and the men in return. Immediately after this, Lady Bracknell enters and learns that her daughter is engaged to Jack. She forbids it. Upon hearing about Algy and Cecily's situation she is still concerned; however, upon learning that Cecily is worth quite a bit of money gives her consent to the marriage. Jack, on the other hand, says that the engagement is out of the question because she cannot marry without his consent till she comes of age, and he under the circumstances he is not going to give his consent. Under the terms of her grandfather's will, Cecily doesn't come of age until she is thirty-five. Jack will of course reconsider if Lady Bracknell does. As far as she is concerned, this is quite out of the question. They all sing a reprise of "A Handbag Is Not A Proper Mother." Cecily tells Jack that she can't spend all the time until she's thirty-five with a short-sighted old lady like Miss Prism watching over her. Lady Bracknell, upon hearing Miss Prism's name, is quite intrigued and wants