If I were directing a new production of The Importance of Being Earnest, I would set the play in the 21st century. The location would be USA, perhaps an uptown area such as New York, which many people may be more familiar with thanks to Hollywood.
There are so many stories about lying and deception on the internet these days, I feel this setting is a pretty good fit. The disearnesty of modern society is so severe that the term “catfishing” was coined in 2010, meaning to “lure someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona” (“Catfish – Definition Of Catfish In English | Oxford Dictionaries”).
“Earnest” and “Bunbury” could perhaps be fake Facebook profiles created by Jack and Algernon. This might add another dimension to the movie as the audience gets to see how the two characters are imagined by the two protagonists. It could be very funny if done right.
The satire of Victorian times would translate very well to modern society. We have advanced in so many ways, but class distinction remains a big problem everywhere, even if it has become more subtle. The modern Lady Bracknell equivalent would perhaps ask about Jack’s cars, yachts and how many shopping malls he owns.
“Catfish – Definition Of Catfish In English | Oxford Dictionaries”. Oxford Dictionaries | English. N.p., 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.