NEWPORT, R.I. – When he lectured about the aesthetic arts in 1882, the great Oscar Wilde packed playhouses across the United States, including a memorable summer performance at Newport’s Stanford White Casino Theatre.
Next month, Wilde’s historic American lecture tour will be revived at the newly renovated Casino Theatre when Dear Conjunction Theatre Company – based in Paris and London – presents its acclaimed show, “More Lives than One: Oscar Wilde and the Black Douglas.”
Written and performed by Leslie Clack, the production will be presented at 8 p.m. on Oct. 7, 8 and 9, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, Oct. 9. The Casino Theatre, managed by Salve Regina University, is located on the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame at 9 Freebody St.
“Wilde himself visited this very place, the Newport Casino, to lecture about the aesthetic arts to a huge crowd on July 15, 1882,” said Kirsten Foster of Dear Conjunction Theatre Company. “We have chosen to perform in this venue not only to follow in Wilde’s footsteps as we tour the United States with this play, but also to step back in time with the audience to imagine what it may have been like watching Wilde on the very same stage all those years ago.”
Directed by Patricia Kessler, “More Lives Than One” will include extracts from Wilde’s comedies and other works, along with scenes from his trials. It presents the fantastic highs and tragic lows of the short but dazzling life of Wilde. The production was originally inspired by Michael MacLiammoir’s “The Importance of Being Oscar” and Clack loosely based his text on MacLiammoir’s style and structure.
Oscar Wilde, not only in his works but also in his private and sometimes very public life, flouted the strict morality of 1890s Victorian England. The English establishment, to punish him for his overt homosexuality and his extravagant style, set out to destroy him. This show, with extracts from his plays, as well as scenes from his trials, presents the fantastic highs and tragic lows of the short but dazzling life of the great Oscar Wilde.
Leslie Clack began his theatre career in the south of France where he appeared in numerous productions. In the early 80’s he went to Paris where he performed as George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Frank in Educating Rita. In 1996, he appeared in Porgy and Bess with the Houston Grand Opera Production for the Paris Opera at the Bastille. Les has performed in over 30 films and television productions and a similar number of theatre productions. He co-founded Dear Conjunction Theatre Company in Paris in 1991.
When “More Lives Than One” performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008, the reviewer wrote, “This hour long-long dramatic portrait of Oscar Wilde is an exceptional piece of work – in the writing, the performance and the direction. It is an elegant production, spare, objective and balanced.”
For more information about the “More Lives Than One” production, contact Kirsten Foster, Dear Conjunction Theatre, at Tel. +0033 (0)6 28 23 86 57 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.