Posted on November 17, 2014 by Tia Lalani

Augustana improv students have adapted Wilde’s classic novel for the stage, using story theatre.

20-22Nov - The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

Thursday, Nov 20 – Saturday, Nov 22

7:30pm at the Augustana Theatre Centre

Story Theatre Production of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, directed by Paul “Sparky” Johnson.

In Victorian era London, the artist Basil Hallward observes his latest creation: a full length portrait of a young Dorian Gray. Through Dorian’s youth and beauty, Basil believes that his portrait is the strongest work he’s ever painted.

During a sitting of Basil’s painting sessions, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, an opinionated aristocrat who lives with a hedonistic worldview. Dorian becomes enthralled by Lord Wotton’s philosophy, and is convinced that the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and sensual fulfillment. Dorian laments, realizing that his portrait will forever appear young and beautiful, and he will turn old and decrepit. He then wishes he could sell his soul to remain young like his portrait.

Through unknown circumstances, his wish is granted. As Dorian indulges in his own selfish desires, he remains young while his portrait ages and becomes scarred by each soul-corrupting sin. Dorian’s actions begin to bring consequences upon the people around him, and ultimately his own life.

Chosen to compliment this year’s theme of “illusion” at the Augustana Campus, the production consists of Augustana students enrolled in the senior level improvisation class, Drama 444. Using the techniques of Viola Spolin and Paul Sills, and under the direction of Paul “Sparky” Johnson, students have adapted Wilde’s classic Gothic novel for the stage, using elements of story theater.

The production runs from Thursday to Saturday, November 20-22, 2014 at the Augustana Theatre Centre. Doors open each night at 7:00 pm and the performance begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are sold at the door (General Admission $10; Students with ID: $4).

The production is directed by Paul “Sparky” Johnson and stars Ari Evans, Cassy Hull, Nathan Plumite, Vanessa Rice, Dan Shepherd, and Ashley Smith.

Chosen to complement Augustana’s theme of “illusion” the story is of a young man of remarkable innocence and beauty who laments that he will, over time, age and physically deteriorate while his recently completed portrait will remain unblemished and forever young.  Dorian makes a wish: “Oh, if it were only the other way!  If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now!” He soon learns that his wish has become reality.

The challenging process of transforming this classical piece of literature into theatre will follow the form (Story Theater) established by the late Paul Sills, whose award-winning Broadway productions were lauded as being compelling and original — as a whole new way for the theatrical muse to play.

$10 general  |  $4 students with ID

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