Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
Seminole State College
By Moisés Kaufman
Directed by Michele Cuomo
Starring Gabriel Garcia, Everton Spencer, Landon Clayton
Lake Mary, FL
In the last half of the 19th century, Oscar Wilde ( Garcia) lived the life of a pop star. He wined, dined, toured and still spent money faster than he could make it. He also dabbled in young men, mostly of the working class, but sometimes he went high class and slept with Lord Alfred Douglas(Spencer). This was a bad choice; Douglas’s dad (Leo Rodriquez) hung out with prize fighters, and did not take kindly to sodomy, especially with his son. Barbs were exchanged, and while Wilde was reluctant to enter into a legal fight he might well lose, young Douglas goaded him on, destroying Wilde’s reputation and his health. Truly, it’s a tragedy on par with King Lear.
Tonight’s production still had some rough edges, even though its now in its second week. We hear occasional stutters from the cast, and Garcia’s constant wrist back flip seemed overdone and forced. On the positive side, when Garcia is completely beat down in the last act, he really looks like a man beaten to an inch of his life. Leo Rodriguez covers the Marquise of Queensbury with an excellent mix of outrage and bullying; this is an angry old man done right. The set was a spare yet effective set of boxes for actors to climb upon and jump off; a few details to indicate the courtroom or a cell with the actors making the space real. Wilde’s fall is one of the classics of hubris; he lost everything and more and died humiliated and broke with no one to turn to. He’s a man brought down by bad advice, false friends with their own agendas, and no sense of how to play the burgeoning modern mass media of a dozen decades go.