Encore Michigan

Richard Payton is Oscar Wilde at Slipstream in June

Preview May 29, 2019 Encore Staff

FERNDALE—This summer, Slipstream Theatre Initiative delves into Oscar Wilde’s history with Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman.

The playwright that brought us gems like The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray has a tragic story of his own.

Wilde’s tumultuous relationship with the young “Bosie” Douglas sparked speculation and gossip about the flamboyant playwright. But it was the young man’s father, the Marquess of Quensberry, who finally brought about Wilde’s downfall. Filled with rumor, whispers, and deceit, the play showcases the three growingly disastrous trials of Oscar Wilde – illuminating his journey to prison and eventual death.

The play makes it clear that the “gross indecency” of the title happened to Wilde rather than by him, but it also shows us, with brutal honesty, how his arrogance and belief that he was untouchable sealed his fate. Slipstream’s production imagines how Wilde’s son might have handled his father’s fall from grace as he pieces together the events of the trial.

Slipstream founding company member and fan favorite Richard Payton plays Oscar Wilde. Slipstream Rising Star Wilde Award winner and company technical director Jackson Abohasira plays Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. Slipstream welcomes Patrick O’Lear as the Marquess of Queensberry (and Queen Victoria, briefly) as well as Caleb Biber-Welser as the leading narrator. The cast also includes Tiaja Sabrie (as Carson, the first prosecutor, and Wilde’s wife Constance), Victoria Rose Weatherspoon (as Gil, the second prosecutor, and others), Patrick Flanagan (as Wilde’s attorney, Clark), Slipstream associate artistic director Luna Alexander (as George Bernard Shaw and others), and Rachel Biber (as Harris, Wilde’s confidante, and others).

Bailey Boudreau directs the production, with Alanna Elling serving as assistant director. Costumes are by Tiaja Sabrie, with set and lights by Jackson Abohasira. Promotional photos are by Jan Cartwright, with graphic design by Esbee Creative.

During this year’s Pride season, celebrating 50 years since Stonewall, Slipstream is reflecting on those that paved the way. Oscar Wilde was the personification of an artist, in all his debonair nonchalance. And though society has come a long way since the days of punishing homosexuality with prison, we’re never as far along as we thought. We are reminded to keep our minds and hearts open to all people, perhaps more now than ever before.

The production runs Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 30. Shows will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 7 pm. Tickets are $12 and available via www.slipstreamti.com or by emailing InsideTheSlipstream@gmail.com.

Week of 6/17/2019

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