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GROSS INDECENCY – “The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde”

January 6, 2011

Gross Indecency

by Moises Kaufman

L.A.Theater Works CD

2 disks, $25.95

Did you know he brought his accusers to trial first–for libel? After he withdrew his charge the courts turned on him (trials two and three). There is inherent drama in this excellent audio version of the play, Gross Indecency by Moises Kaufman, charged with life by some great reads by terrific actors.

The conflict proves as much between art and the pragmatism of life as it does about Wilde’s sexual activities and hearing the arguments instead of seeing the play actually lets the audience better focus on the words’ complexities. (There is also a nice track at the end of the second disk interviewing the author that sharpens the presentations theme even more.  And I particularly enjoyed his after-the-fact analysis of what he was trying to accomplish with each of the trials.)

I found the second trial started to drag, but the third arcs to a climax–not the sentencying, but to Wilde’s poem written years after his release from prison. Those of you who think of Oscar Wilde only in terms of witty aphorisms are in for a real treat.

This audio theater presentation is a gem.

To order this for $19.72 plus shipping, click here: Oscar Wilde

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