Christine (who was over on a visit from faraway Stuttgart!), and I went to see a play about Oscar Wilde at Maxim Gorki theatre. I dressed up fin de siècle and all the actors and stage props where 60s retro and glam. Oscar Wilde was played by a woman with Madonna looks and the mannerism of a puberescant boy, but it sort of worked. In the photo below Wilde is interrogated by the male establishment about his affairs with young men. While he takes his time explaining why morals for him have no place in art, and he as an artist has no concern for morals, the two interrogators start winding about in their seats and get really cramped up and fall to the ground. Then the stage is taken by a choir of adolescent boys in sport suits and everyone starts drinking champagne. It was very comical, but I'm confused about whether dandyism translates to the disco age, why a gay man has to be played by a woman, and if you do Wilde justice by portraying him as a ruthless egomaniac who only finds an excuse for his behavior in his art. Not questioning that what he does is immoral but instead finding an excuse for it in his art.
or if decadence is rather a legitimate way of subverting a repressive culture with fucked up morals.
I mean, while the play clearly put the established men with hats in a bad corner and had plenty of sympathy for disco and frivolity, it still was only that, frivolous, and it didn't do anything to reconcile Wilde as someone whose only fault was that he didn't live up to the skewed moral standards of his time.
I have to give a presentation about Wilde next week for a course titled Ethics and Aesthetics. I would like to dress up as Wilde and get my classmates to fall from their chairs, but I somehow can't see that happen. If anyone has anything to say on this topic, please let me be inspired.
NOVEMBER 1, 2005 12:39 PM