by Artistic Director David Stallings.
I wanted to take the time to write you, our audience and share why we are doing The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Lippincott’s Magazine first published The Picture of Dorian Gray in June of 1890. The editors chose to censor roughly 500 words of Wilde's text. Wilde then decided to publish the story again in April of 1891 after much revision and taking out even more of the controversial passages. The novel was received with much criticism -mostly poor- "unclean", "effeminate", and "contaminating" being the primary slurs. In the libel trial of Oscar Wilde, Edward Carson, the chief attorney representing the Marques de Queensberry, had to prove that Oscar Wilde was indeed a "sodomite". His primary mode of attack was using The Picture of Dorian Gray's text as proof.
Yes, The Picture of Dorian Gray is about gay men. Though throughout history, in cinema and on stage, it has been downplayed and closeted. At the story's heart are a group of men acting out on their sexual impulses, marrying women to hide their lives, being riddled by guilt, and acting out against others. It is a story that Wilde painstakingly attempted to censor himself, attempting to make it at times appear about lofty ideas such as art, hedonism, and social morality, but as many words as he would change and beloved passages he would cut, the heart of The Picture of Dorian Gray beats on. Perhaps this is why Oscar Wilde is a hero to us all in the LGBT Community.
But The Picture of Dorian Gray is not a new story? You may ask. It is true our company is dedicated to new work and it may seem odd to bring an adaptation of a famous novel to life on our stage. What thrills us is that Kadigan is telling the story in a new way, uncensored and with Wilde's own words, compiled solely from the actual text of the novel. She has allowed the relationships to exist and relate honestly. She has allowed Wilde's text to come out of the closet without apology to its grandness or "effeminacy". In a world where everyone is so concerned about "stereotype", we forget theater's need for archetype. And when a work has been "archetyped" in shadows for a hundred years, it is nice to embrace them fully and see the richness of their colors.
I invite you to MTWorks' Production of The Picture of Dorian Gray at the WorkShop Theater from March 27th through April 14th. To learn more about the show visit www.MTWorks.org/upcoming.html