Since mid February, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde has been a sold out hit in its staging by Denver Center Theatre Company, but the production adjourns Mar. 4 as part of the cast begins work toward the first preview (March 11) of DCTC's The Tempest.
Moises Kaufman's Off-Broadway docudrama about the trials and tribulations of Irish playwright Wilde began DCTC begins previews Jan. 27, directed by Laird Williamson, and opened Feb. 4.
DCTC favorites lead the Denver cast, with Jamie Horton as Oscar Wilde, John Hutton as Edward Clarke, and William Denis as the Marquess of Queensberry.
Gross Indecency follows the arrest, judgment and sentencing of the most celebrated playwright in Great Britain, drawing on original Wilde transcripts, biographical material and letters.
Wilde's plays include Lady Windemere's Fan, The Importance Of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband A Woman of No Importance and Salome. His start blazed briefly in his time, but his personal life sunk his reputation at the turn of the century. He was sentenced to two years' hard labor in an English prison for "gross indecency with male persons" -- the crime of homosexuality. Upon his release, he moved to France and died of meningitis three years later.
Those who think Wilde was simply arrested and tried for being gay in England might be surprised at the full story, charted in the play: Wilde first sued his lover's father for defamation of character, but the suit backfired, with Wilde becoming the victim of his own pride -- and England's legal system.
Gross Indecency plays at DCTC's The Ricketson Theatre. For tickets or information, call (303) 893-4100.
-- By Ken Jones