Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oscar Wilde's Ernest In Love

Last night "mi novio", Cristian and I went to the Irish Repertory Theater in Chelsea to see Oscar Wilde's Ernest in Love. The show has received favorable reviews from both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times . I agree with both reviews. It's a wonderful little show and the musical adaptation is nicely done.

Prior to the show, we enjoyed dinner at Niso's . Niso's has always been a nice little intimate Chelsea gay-friendly restaurant/bar. Niso's is currently featuring a full pre-fixed four course dinner for only $25 per person. Niso's food is not superb but it was tasty, portions nice and the price was right.

Oscar Wilde was not only a great playwright, but also a great gay man. The current show is a musical interpretation of his famous play "The Importance of Being Ernest" which debuted at the Saint James Theater in England back in 1895. But even as Oscar and his the play were being hailed by critics, danger lurked for him. For behind the scenes, his enemies were working to bring down the gay Irish playwright. As Oscar was Irish and gay, that in itself was two strikes against him. Worse, he was in a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas "Bosie", the gay son of a powerful and proper man of English society John Douglas the Marquess of Queensberry. Oscar's full potential was never realized as he lived, worked and loved as a gay Irish man in the Victorian Era of England. And Victorian wisdom or lack thereof,  sustaining a fusion of political, legal and medical theories that defined homosexuality as a degenerative illness, would weaken the English people. Can't have someone around who will bring down England, now can we? As such and sadly as with most great individuals, his genius and art were not fully appreciated during his lifetime. Nor was his greatness nourished, thus suppressing his contribution to mankind as he lived in a closed society.

One of the show's and Oscar's most famous quotes is; The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple". But the show is the opposite of that statement. Pure and simple piano, violin and Irish harp are the musical background to the play. The theater is clean, cozy, small and yet intimate. Every seat in such proximity to the stage that you can see the details on the costumes and observe even the slightest facial expressions of the actors.

The play and Oscar have stood the test of time. But time is running short to see this one whose production ends the second week of February. Put it on your "to do" list.

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