The Age of
Steve Morel as Sir Henry Wooten
Todd Stewart as Basil Hallward,
Robert Miller as Dorian Gray
Amanda Leigh as Sybil, Lady Wooten, Duchess and Chorus
Andrew Pifkoe as James, Uncle Fermor, Chorus
Gretchen Helbig as Mother Vane, Lady Agatha, Chorus
Andrew Stelmack as Alan, Chorus
The Age of Dorian is about a time and place where youth and money rule. Dorian Gray epitomizes this age. He has money, he has beauty, and most importantly, he has youth. He also has a mysterious portrait of himself which ages and transforms with each sin he commits, while Dorian remains forever young.
When Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in 1890, it was attacked as "a tale spawned from the leprous literature of the French decadents - a poisonous book." Oscar Wilde's response was, "It is poisonous if you like; but you cannot deny that it is also perfect, and perfection is what we artists aim at." Wilde believed in the liberation of the personality and the celebration of the individual. "Rebellion and extravagance are needed if Society's molds are to be broken, as broken they must be. Art is by nature dissident."
During his notorious trial, excerpts from The Picture of Dorian Gray were read to draw parallels between Henry Wotton's relationship with Dorian Gray and Oscar Wilde's relationship with the Marquis of Queensbury's son, Lord Alfred Douglas, for which Wilde would be sentenced to two years hard labour.
Sir Henry Wotton tells Dorian Gray, "Live the wonderful life that is in you! Be always searching for new sensations. A new Hedonism - that is what our century wants."
How does Wilde's tale speak to us a century later? Are we in another "Age of Dorian" as we approach our own fin de siècle? Will this bring with it the decay, decline and ultimate disaster that the Victorians feared?
As our 21st century approaches, we are in the throes of a neo-Victorian 90s, a time of conformity and alienation, with two realities - the poor and the rich, the Society and the individual.
Wilde's vision was of the Romantic individualist, rebellious, self-expressive and extravagant, who is essential to the evolution of Society. "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
The Age of Dorian is an ambitious project that Greg Morrison has been developing for several years. This is a 'work-in-progress' run, starring a cast of seven singers, directed by Sandra Balcovske.