Tuesday, March 26, 2013

EVENT: Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde


DOCUMENTARY DRAMAS AREN’T JUST FOR FILM, ANYMORE!
The New Ensemble Theater Group explores Oscar Wilde’s rise and fall through documentary-style play by Moises Kaufman, writer of The Laramie Project.
 
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. The life of the author of the classic comedy The Importance of Being Earnestwould turn out to be anything but laughable.
 
The New Ensemble Theater Group (TNE) continues its exploration of new styles of playmaking for Fresno with the docu-drama GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE beginning April 19th at the Broken Leg Stage in Fresno’s Tower District.  Written and developed by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Company (The Laramie Project), GROSS INDECENCY is based on the three trials that would transform the life and legacy of the popular playwright Oscar Wilde, as he was tried and convicted of breaking the sodomy laws of Victorian England.
 
The courtroom drama compiles personal letters and documents written by Wilde, along with transcripts from the three trials, newspaper reports, and eyewitness accounts to bring to life the trials, the individuals, and the society that thwarted Wilde’s art and took his freedom.
 
For audiences, this documentary style of theater is a visceral experience.  Nearly every word uttered onstage in GROSS INDECENCY was said or written in the 1890s.  We do not hear a playwright’s version of what was said during those days, we hear what was actually said.  It is a close as you can get to “being there” in a theatrical experience—like being a fly-on-the-wall from over 110 years ago. 
 
TNE is known in Fresno for taking traditional subjects and putting a new twist on them.  “The documentary style of Kaufman’s work appeals to us because we are constantly looking for new ways to present theater. It allows for an original and creative experience for both the actors and audiences, while grappling with some important subjects,” says Artistic Director Heather Parish.  “In this case, the staging, casting and style of the piece is like no other production of GROSS INDECENCY prior.” For instance, Oscar Wilde will be played by Haley White, a woman who has been active in the LGBT community.  Also, TNE uses a variety of contemporary staging and movement techniques to build a thoughtful, moving experience for audiences. 
 
“I have always been interested in how society deals with the ‘other,’ and how one survives in the world when you don’t belong in it.” states playwright Moisés Kaufman of the play. The style of the play is that of looking outside in—and how we judge people and the past from what we only see on the outside, and not what may be possessed underneath.  Themes of homosexual identity, economic class, moral and intellectual honesty, and the nature and purpose of art are all dramatized succinctly in Oscar Wilde’s story. 
 
GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE is a must-see for lovers of art, artists and all things Oscar Wilde. 
 
GROSS INDECENCY runs April 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, May 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. and
April 20, 27 and May 4 at 2 p.m.  The Broken Leg Stage is located at 1470 N. Van Ness between Floradora and McKinley  in Fresno’s Tower District.  Tickets are $14 and $12 and available in advance at newensemble.com.  For reservations or information, call (559) 457-9613 or e-mail info@newensemble.com
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The director, Heather Parish, and members of the ensemble are available for appearances and interviews from April 7thuntil closing.  Contact Heather at heather@newensemble.com or (559) 303-5070.

                
The New Ensemble Theater Group
    http://www.newensemble.com         
 
The New Ensemble Theater Group
CONTACT:  Heather Parish, Artistic Director
Heather@newensemble.com   (559) 303-5070
 
What: Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
When:  April 19- May 4, 2013
Where:  Broken Leg Stage, 1470 N Van Ness, Fresno.
Tickets:  $14, with various discounts.
    

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