Oscar Wilde at the Frick: PICT Brings the Legend to Life

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The grand mansions and ornate galleries of the Frick Pittsburgh are home to incredible art collections and antique carriages, bringing the magic of the past to visitors in the present. This December, for one week only, the Frick has teamed up with the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre to bring a triad of plays, directed by Alan Stanford, based on the life and writings of famed 19th century author and playwright Oscar Wilde.

For PICT, selecting the Frick Art Museum’s 160-seat theater was a natural choice. “Part of Mr. Stanford’s intent with In the Company,” Brian Edwards, Marketing Manager at the PICT, explains, “is to make the audience truly feel that they are in the company of Oscar Wilde, and that he is alive and present through his words. The intimacy and elegance of The Frick seemed the perfect atmosphere in which to convey these sentiments. It is also the belief of PICT that Mr. Wilde himself, a man of impeccable taste, would overwhelmingly approve of his story being told within the exquisite surroundings that The Frick Art Museum provides.”

Caito Amorose of the Frick Museum tells us about the collaboration, “When PICT approached us about the idea of presenting a week of performances at the Frick, we were immediately excited both about the opportunity to collaborate with this terrific organization and for the chance to present interesting programming from the Gilded Age time period. Oscar Wilde and Henry Clay Frick were contemporaries but were very different men, although both represent important facets of the late 19th century. Bringing Oscar Wilde’s words to the stage at the Frick seemed very appropriate.”

In the Company of Oscar Wilde, Oscar Wilde Fairy Tales, and The Trial of Oscar Wilde are the three works presented. The performances will feature the talents of James Fitzgerald (playing Wilde himself), Ingrid Sonnichsen, Martin Giles, Karen Baum and Marsha Mayhak. This production of In the Company, which debuted in Dublin, Ireland, will be the United States premiere of the show.

The lavish and engrossing productions center around the life of 19th century Aesthetic and bohemian Oscar Wilde as told through his own words and tying them in with the works that he had written, as well as bringing to life the fairy tales he once composed for his own children. In the final play, The Trial of Oscar Wilde, audiences will have a front row seat to the gripping and suspenseful drama, the cause célèbre of its day, that was the beginning of the author’s tragic last chapter in his life.

Amorose remarked on the plays:

“Fairy Tales is unique as these are private stories that Mr. Wilde wrote for his two sons not expecting them to be shared with the world allowing us, as viewers, to step into his most private relationship with his children. It is a family friendly performance that beautifully honors the idyllic view the Fricks had on family and how important time together. These fairy tales are a reminder to our contemporary audience that family is timeless and will continue to be the base of success and happiness.”

“The Trial of Oscar Wilde finds the perfect home at the Frick as it reflects upon the final argument in the downfall of Oscar Wilde…showing that all lives have trials that change public perception and there will always be many sides expressing their opinion (correlating to the public opinion trial Henry Frick endured during the Pinkerton Rebellion.) The Trial of Oscar Wilde was not written by Mr. Wilde but rather his grandson after the trial took place and only using courtroom transcript to create the story being told. The Trial will provide reflection and insight into the life of such an enormous talent while reminding us that treading lightly at times has its benefits rather indulging our own self importance having to pay the price later on.”

Edwards commented, “ I believe audiences will enjoy hearing what Wilde is remembered most for; his words and witticisms, while also getting a glimpse into the personal side of such a monumental personality, and being transported back to the point of one of his greatest challenges.”

In the Company of Oscar Wilde runs from December 6th through 10th, including a discussion with director Alan Stanford on the 7th. Oscar Wilde Fairy Tales, a family friendly event, will be performed once on December 9th, and The Trial of Oscar Wilde on December 10th.

To buy tickets, you can visit the PICT website here: http://www.picttheatre.org/play/company-oscar-wilde/

Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre