Concord Academy’s winter mainstage, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, provided the community with a fast-moving and gripping production like no other before. This story, chronicled by Moisés Kaufman, details Oscar Wilde’s experience through his arrest, trials, conviction, and ultimate punishment for his sexuality. Through the usage of trial transcripts, personal correspondences, interviews, and other materials, Kaufman beautifully conveyed Oscar Wilde’s journey through navigating his passion for art and writing through a damaging scandal. In the first trial, Wilde sued his lover and young aristocrat, Lord Alfred Douglas’ father, the Marquess of Queensbury, for criminal libel after he left a calling card depicting the phrase, “posing somdomite.” In turn, Wilde’s artistic endeavors were considered immoral, in which he was later prosecuted for “gross indecency with male persons.” Not only did his arrest obstruct the ability for his plays to be put on in London’s West End, but it represented larger themes including homosexuality, injustice, the importance of art, and questioning what is true.
The play was offered virtually and in-person on Friday, January 28, and Sunday, January 30, and was extremely popular among students and faculty members. Maddy Plotnick ’24 explained, “The show was amazing! It was so fun to see my friends on stage sharing such a compelling story.”Over 33 students contributed to the show directed by Shelley Bolman and they truly crafted a performance that will not be forgotten.
One fascinating aspect of Gross Indecency was how many actors played Oscar Wilde. Each one slightly portrayed this character in a different way, with varying body languages, tones, and presences on the stage. The audience was able to view and sympathize with Oscar Wilde from a variety of different perspectives and were impressed by how intimate the story felt. Unlike a typical play, the narrative of Oscar Wilde did not just extend to the four corners of the stage. Actors were embedded within the audience, providing a much more immersive experience to the performance.
CA’s theatre department succeeded in creating a meaningful experience for the community. They also encourage individuals interested in performance, stage management, technology, and lighting to get involved with the upcoming spring productions!