Irish Dramatist Oscar Wilde once wrote, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” His words would prove prophetic as the last five years in the life of this Victorian Age artist would turn out to be anything but laughable.
Modern Playwright Moises Kaufman compiled personal letters and documents written by Wilde along with transcripts from the three trials, newspaper reports, etc., to bring to life the three fated trials that Oscar Wilde was to endure. Then in 1997 Kaufman published, “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.”
The Chattanooga Theatre Centre opens with “Gross Indecency” on the Circle Stage on November 4th-19th. George Quick directs this play. The following is from CTC’s press release:
Playwright Moisés Kaufman has created a riveting docudrama, courtroom drama, social commentary, tragedy and comedy in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. A brilliant patchwork of contemporary court documents, newspaper accounts and books by and about Wilde, the play deals with Oscar Wilde’s three trials on the matter of his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas which led to charges of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons”. The play uses actual quotes and transcripts from the trials, including Wilde’s inimitable witticisms that ultimately were his undoing.
CTC’s cast includes LeBron Benton, Jerry M Draper, Randal Fosse, John Hammons, Joshua Harrell, R Clay Johnson, Will Park, Jake Waters, and Justin Young. Randal Fosse takes on the role of Oscar Wilde.
In April of 2011, The Guardian writes that the original, uncensored version of Oscar Wilde’s one novel, “The Picture of Dorian Grey” written 130 years earlier had finally been published. Moises Kaufman has brought back to life the power of Oscar Wilde’s character and the views of the Victorian Culture that would first thrust him to fame and then condemn him to a prison sentence of two years of hard labor with, “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.”
Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil
Listen to the interview with Randal Fosse: