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Friday, May 6, 2016

In Context: The Judas Kiss



Celebrated film and stage actor Rupert Everett captures the brilliant gay aesthete Oscar Wilde in David Hare’s 1998 play The Judas Kiss, directed by Neil Armfield and coming to BAM May 11—Jun 12. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of related articles, sounds and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #TheJudasKiss.

Program Notes

The Judas Kiss (PDF)

Read

Oscar Wilde-scholar John Cooper reflects on Wilde's BAM homecoming (of sorts).

Interview
Wilde Again (BAM blog)
"Wilde is not just a great writer, but he is the inspiration for great writing in others," says David Hare.

Article
Rupert Everett Gets His Oscar (Wilde, That Is) (The New York Times)
For the play's star, history catches up with a prized role in The Judas Kiss.

Article
Gross Indecency (The New Yorker)
Rupert Everett takes the role he was born to play: Oscar Wilde.

Article
On the lingering effects of Oscar Wilde’s prison sentence.

Article
“I didn’t think I was going to be alive by 53,” says Everett. “I imagined a fabulous car crash at 33.”

Article
A rich profile of The Judas Kiss' director, who recently retired as artistic director of the Belvoir Theatre after 15 years.

Watch & Listen

Podcast
Beyond The Judas Kiss (SoundCloud)
Playwright Sir David Hare, author Darryl Pinckney, and critic Liesl Schillinger discuss the life and art of author Oscar Wilde during the transformative moment of his life that both destroyed and venerated him.



Video
Everett reads from a transcript of Wilde’s 1895 trial.

Video
“It’s about going on the skids. It’s about celebrity scandal,” says Everett of The Judas Kiss.

Audio
Hare discusses his memoir The Blue Touch Paper, detailing his coming-to-be as a writer in the turbulent 1960s and 70s.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Did Rupert Everett do justice to Wilde’s tragic final chapter? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #TheJudasKiss.

13 comments:

  1. This production features an opening with gratutious (fake) sex and (real) nudity, totally unnecessary, There is more nudity to come, male, full-frontal: perhaps as a distraction from the shortcomings of the play, a mostly tedious exercise, weirdly lacking in chemistry between Oscar (who never comes across as even a shell of his former witty self) and Bosie (who is a one-dimensional brat). Everett doesn't seem to have the depth that portraying a three-dimensional Wilde requires.

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  2. A powerful, moving, and thought-provoking production. Highly recommended. The BAM Harvey theatre is an excellent venue and adds a great deal to the experience.

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  3. I was enraptured from the opening scene - two of the hotel workers, male and female, were making love - through to the end - I won't give that away. But the contrast between hetero and gay lovemaking is nicely made, and I really came to appreciate the depth of Oscar Wilde. The dialogue was great - much of it could have been written by Wilde himself - and there were a lot of philosophical angles - decision points, if you will - covered. The nudity - and there was a fair amount - only pushed the story forward; it was, after all, what the story was about. Everett gave such a masterful performance that, when he came to take his final bows, I was surprised that he really moved like a middle aged man, not the old man he so convincingly portrayed. Excellent!

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  4. I enjoyed this thought provoking production so much I hardly felt the 2:30 hours go by. Witty, poignant but never desperate Wilde stoically accepts his fate. He will remain a beacon of truth forever.

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  6. Joanne TheodorouMay 16, 2016 at 12:00 AM

    It will always be a tragic story, no matter who tells the tale. I don't think Hare added anything, rather retold the story with a few more reveals. Yet compelling entertainment, Rupert is perfectly cast. The nudity was gratuitous, really uncalled for, but when you tell the sad story of Oscar Wilde, i suppose shocks are always called for....

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  7. Stunning theater all around! Brilliantly written, acted and directed. Kudos to everyone involved in this sterling production!

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  8. Laurie MichelsonMay 19, 2016 at 8:16 AM

    I loved it! I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of nudity. Happy to see it wasn't just the female taking off her clothes. Rupert Everett was fabulous. The story line was great. So relevant to our time.

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  9. Rupert Everett is extraordinary in the part. Unfortunately, the play doesn't give us the depths of understanding it sets out to accomplish. Why does a truly brilliant man give up everything for a lover both unworthy of him and one he clearly knows will leave him? Something many of us have experienced no doubt, even though we may not be brilliant. The dialogue is a decent approximation of how one imagines Oscar Wilde spoke, but its inconsistencies are distracting as we drop in and out of this imaginary world.

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  10. Thoughtful, touching depiction of Wilde's final tragic years. Script was clever -- brilliant even, and Everett's performance rang true throughout. I would encourage any theater enthusiast to see this play, if only for his performance.
    2 criticisms: 1) The affair between Wilde and Bosie fell flat for me. I could not help but wonder why a man of such insight, wit and genius such as Wilde would be so deeply in love with a character who was portrayed as a rather shallow, selfish and (worst of all) uninteresting fellow. And 2) There are continuous rumblings throughout (from Wilde) about the moral house of cards upon which the State's case is built (just 2 people doing what they want to do in private). Fair enough. But as I understand it, Wilde engaged in such activities with underage boys - which even today is viewed as inappropriate. Frankly, if Wilde was convicted of homosexuality generally, and not pedophilia, then his point is well taken -- at least as it regards the legal case against him. But his moral indignation, perhaps not so much.

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  11. Genius performance about a genius playwright. The immersive, engaging script is Pulitzer-worthy: every line is cogent. The performance abounds with wit, stagecraft and memorable power. "Judas Kiss" is a model of what American theatre can be with high literary values wrapped within authentic pathos, brilliant comedy and profound tragedy bundled in a single play about one of the most gifted writers for the stage who ever lived.

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  12. Seen it today. Rupert did a stellar performance playing Oscar Wilde. The other characters in the play were excellent. The storyline itself was amazing.

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  13. Saw the show last night June 11th. Thought it was a great production and Rupert Everett was superb. My only complain was the some time during the second act, the air conditioning in the theatre went off and the theatre became pretty hot. Don't know why it happened and it has happened before when I have seen shows at BAM both in the Opera House and the Harvey Theatre.

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