Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde from theatre Q
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The last date listed for Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde was Sunday June 15, 2008 / 2:00pm.
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The first trial of Oscar Wilde, in 1895, was the beginning of his downfall. Wilde took the father of his young lover to trial for libel. The Marquess of Queensberry, after hearing of his son Alfred Douglas’ relationship with Wilde, left a calling card at a popular social club saying “Oscar Wilde: posing somdomite,” an unfortunate malapropism that has since became world-famous. Wilde was forced to drop the charges when he realized he had no chance of winning, but the damage had been done. Queensberry immediately forwarded all his defense material to the Crown and urged prosecution of Wilde for committing gross indecency with four specified men (notably, Alfred Douglas was not mentioned in the charge). This resulted in Wilde’s second trial, which ended in a hung jury. The final trial, on the same charge, resulted in Wilde being sentenced to two years hard labor in prison, a sentence he never recovered from.
Told in the same style that would later become famous with The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency uses actual transcripts from the trials interspersed with newspaper coverage of the fracas, as well as letters and other writings from the participants and other observers. Such notable figures as George Bernard Shaw, Queen Victoria and the author himself are among the more than 30 characters that appear in the work and are portrayed by only nine actors.
By Moisès Kaufman
Directed by George Quick