BASiC THEATRE PROJECT PRESENTS :: GROSS INDECENCY : THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE :: THRU JUNE 16
“An idea which is not dangerous
is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”
– Oscar Wilde
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, Part of Gayfest NYC, Thru June 16th
The Dorothy Streslin Theatre at the Abingdon, 312 West 36th Street
**All proceeds from GAYFEST NYC benefit the Harvey Milk High School.**
Exit Strata is excited to announce AWESOME CREATORS BASiC Theatre Project‘s current production of Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project), which was selected as a featured project of this years (Fifth) Gayfest NYC (Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, Producers), a four week event of powerful new theatre highlighting LGBT issues.
A festival like Gayfest is not the purview of the LGBT community but so much more, as issues around sexuality and gender equality continue to take center stage in legal and political debate worldwide. Especially in response to tragedy and conflict, as in Kaufman’s oft produced Laramie Project, intensive, focused programs like this one provide an essential site of dialogue around not only contemporary cultural and social life — but can also serve to keep us engaged and aware of the long history of this community’s role in public life, particularly in the arts.
In Gross Indecency we cannot help but feel the immediacy of Wilde’s trial, but so too the continuity of human conflict and emotion that we too often misconstrue as unique to ourselves or our time. For director Zi Alikhan, the connection to this script was instantaneous and deeply personal.
Alikhan explains, “it was the first play I ever picked up and read in a single sitting. It’s engaging, current, dramatic, and best of all, it’s all real.” And perhaps that’s the play’s real power – instead of translating or adapting, Kaufman has directly used first-hand accounts of the 1895 Oscar Wilde trials to examine the origins of homosexual identity and male identity and to question where, how, and if they intersect in historical and contemporary discourse. Through the compilation of diaries, court records, news sources, and so on, “Kaufman has created for us a fast-paced portrayal of Wilde’s fall from fame and the bigger social repercussions that followed.”
For Alikhan, the script is still as fresh as that first sit down: “to think that all of the words of the play come from court documents and memoirs of something that happened in 1895 is still to me, three years after first reading this piece, something that punches me in the gut in the best and worst way.”
Furthermore, “upon reading the play, I was immediately struck by the parallels to Wilde’s life my friends and I make microcosmically as 20-something nyc gays every day. Even in 2013, we are forced to choose between our masculinity, our sexuality, and our art on a daily basis, and participate in a society where to rise to the top, it is nearly impossible to strive for the fullest expression of all three simultaneously.”
In this production, the team has incorporated a range of styles of movement and music in a collaborative rehearsal process to “discover the timelessness of Wilde’s story and how it still functions with and relates to our social climate today.”
Directed by Zi Alikhan, the cast features Drew Feldman, Benjamin Fisher, Joshua Forcum, Michael Greehan, Anthony Jackson, Charlie Kolarich, Michael Lorz, Russell Peck, Jonathan Sokolow and Carl Wilson. The creative team includes Jason Sherwood (set), Mia Cook and Danielle Mahoney (costumes), Joanna Emmott (lighting) and Dan Crowley (sound). The production stage manager is Mariliza Parker.