Roland Turner

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The Importance of being Earnest, a play in 3 acts, or possibly 4

It struck me when I first saw the 2002 film adaptation of Wilde’s play that the storyline didn’t quite follow my recollection and, in particular, added Gribsby the solicitor and his writ of attachment for the “committal of your person”. It turns out that the play was originally written in 4 acts, but was shortened to 3 during preparation for its first production and that Gribsby was cut as part of this process.

Locating an original script is proving to be a little tricky, but at least one edition has the excised scene with Gribsby included as an appendix, an appendix which happens to be visible in Amazon’s preview. More of Wilde’s deliciously absurd prose:

GRIBSBY: I am merely a solicitor myself. I do not employ personal violence of any kind. The officer of the Court whose function it is to seize the person of the debtor is waiting in the fly outside. He has considerable experience in these matters. But no doubt you will prefer to pay the bill?

A more pleasant way to threaten someone is difficult to imagine.

Kudos to Oliver Parker (director of the film) for reviving this character.