A Noise Within (ANW) is now presenting A Picture of Dorian Gray, based on the novella by Oscar Wilde, adapted and directed by Michael Michetti. The play will continue through Nov. 16, 2018.
In love with the beauty of his own portrait, Dorian Gray sells his soul to preserve his youth. He manages to stay young while all of his friends age, but what isn’t happening to his body slowly happens to his portrait, which slowly but constantly reveals not only the passage of time, but the deterioration of his soul. This edgy and, perhaps for some, shocking adaptation of the play brings Wilde’s language and humor to the front, underlining the themes of hedonism and the insatiable pursuit of pleasure.
At ANW, Colin Bates is Dorian Gray. Bates is, in fact, a beautiful human specimen, with every muscle chiseled nearly to perfection, which you get to appreciate, completely, during several minutes of full frontal nudity, while his character poses for what is to become his haunting portrait. (Decide then whether you rather leave your kids at home.)
Wilde was a brilliant and witty gay man, who in life suffered much due to his sexual orientation. The characters in this play reflect his unconventional thought, and the production at ANW is one that he would have loved, as it portrays, through dance numbers and dialogue delivery, the homoerotic aspects that he doubtlessly meant in it.
The stage is simple, just a few picture frames that hang from the ceiling that your imagination must translate into paintings or fireplaces. Yet, not much more is needed, largely because of the superb job done by the cast, which includes Frederick Stuart as the hedonistic Lord Henry Wotton, and Amin El Gamal in a lovely portrayal of painter Basil Hallward.
A Picture of Dorian Gray at ANW is definitely more daring than other works presented by the company before, but it’s also quite beautiful. If you are a Wilde fan, you will love it.
A Noise Within is located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena, 91107. Please visit their website for exact dates and times.
Pictured: (L-R) Frederick Stuart, Amin El Gamal, and Colin Bates. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
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