Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pict Goes Wilde with Three-Part Program at the Frick

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pict Goes Wilde with Three-Part Program at the Frick

Article excerpt

This weekend, there will be two scandalous Victorian shows at the Frick Pittsburgh the "Undressed" exhibition organized by London's Victoria & Albert Museum, and "Wilde at the Frick," a five-day deep dive into the life and work of Oscar Wilde by PICT Classic Theatre.

"The difficulty in putting a thing like this together is how much you have to leave out," said PICT leader Alan Stanford, a Wilde man from way back.

"He died at the age of 46, and he had already done more than most people can do in a 70-year lifetime."

Mr. Stanford settled on three programs: "In the Company of Oscar Wilde," told mostly in the writer's own words; "Oscar Wilde Fairy Tales" and "The Trial of Oscar Wilde," the first of three trials and the cross-examination that eventually led to his imprisonment for "gross indecency."

The 160-seat Frick auditorium was under consideration when the company was looking for a new home, but the stage was way too small for a production such as the "Romeo & Juliet" recently produced at WQED Studios.

"It's not realistic for major productions, but I thought it would be very good for recitals and one-offs," said Mr. Stanford, adding that the Frick was happy to host a Wilde weekend.

You could say that the actor-director has been preparing for this program his entire career, which began in London and then Ireland before he moved to Pittsburgh.

"All through my life I have been in Oscar Wilde plays - I have played so many parts in 'The Importance of Being Earnest' as to be ridiculous. . I've even directed some of those shorter and very strange plays that predated 'Lady Windermere.' So I've been reading him, lecturing about him, talking about him, absorbing him on so many levels," Mr. Stanford said.

He pairs Wilde with fellow Irishman Samuel Beckett as the two great writers who emerged in the 19th century, with Wilde representing "the avalanche of linguistics, and [Beckett] being the desert."

When the actor was in a Wilde program at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, he became close friends with the writer's only grandchild, Merlin Holland, son of the author Vyvyan Holland (Wilde's wife Constance changed the children's surname to Holland - a family name on her side - after Wilde's conviction and imprisonment). …

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