The Trials of Oscar Wilde, co-written by John O’Connor and Oscar Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland, is based on court transcripts from the two trials, and charts Wilde’s rapid downfall.
Classic Spring, a new theatre company from former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Dominic Dromgoole, today announces first casting and creatives for a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre, starting in October with Eve Best in A Woman of No Importance.
When The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 by Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, it caused a great scandal, despite already having been heavily censored by the magazine’s editor. Later, when adapting the story to be published as a book, Oscar Wilde himself removed further material, in particular some of the more homoerotic passages.
If it tells you nothing else, The Picture of Dorian Gray reminds you Oscar Wilde was a playwright not a novelist and this, his only work of prose fiction, emerges as a script with merely minor tinkering and additional source material from Wilde’s surviving grandson Merlin Holland.
One wit called it ‘the first French novel in English’, with its seductive evocation of exotic decadence and corrupting wickedness. Critics in the 1890’s sputtered “poisonous…heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction” and fit only for “outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys”. In other words, homosexual. But it has outlived them, this Oscar Wilde fable of the beautiful boy Dorian who keeps his fresh appearance while in the attic his portrait snarls, sneers and withers to monstrosity.
The festive season is long gone, pantomimes have finished and hundreds of actors are putting away their Dame costumes for another year, the presents have been put away (or exchanged) and after a month of gorging ourselves on sweet treats there’s one last box of mince pies in the cupboard that we’re trying to resist! So, with the world getting back to normal it’s about time we caught up on recent theatre news.