what i'm watching: oscar wilde

We saw The Importance Of Being Earnest at Soulpepper yesterday, and it was very good. They seem to do better with comedies (which doesn't bode well for their upcoming production of King Lear). Earnest is a great play, hilarious, biting, brilliantly skewering - and the last Oscar Wilde wrote before he was imprisoned, banished, and died.

It's amazing and horrifying to think of what Wilde endured - even more so when you realize that he courted his own agony by refusing to be anyone but himself. Had he been willing or able to keep his same-sex relationships more secretive, as almost everyone else of his generation did, he might have lived out the rest of his life in the comfortable society that his plays lampooned. Instead he held his head up - asking "What's wrong with how I live?" - and it was chopped off. He was a man radically, fatally ahead of his time.

We were lucky to see Liam Neeson play Oscar Wilde in David Hare's play The Judas Kiss. (Oh boy, that makes me miss New York!) We also saw Stephen Fry as Wilde in the movie "Wilde". Both were excellent - moving, sad, and eye-opening. They were part of a bit of Wildemania, as a good dozen plays and movies were produced in connection with what would have been Wilde's 150th birthday. Here's a review of several of them, here's a good page about Wilde and Stephen Fry, this is Oscar Wilde's Wikipedia entry.

Wilde's plays should be produced often, and his story should be told and retold.

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