Female “narrators” to play Oscar Wilde, Lord Alfred Douglas and Edward Carson in Promethean’s December production
CHICAGO – Moisés Kaufman’s enduring drama of Oscar Wilde’s three trials for homosexual behavior in late 19th Century England will be presented through a new lens with the casting of female actors in some of the roles traditionally played by men. Promethean’s Artistic Director Brian Pastor, will who direct the production, made the announcement today.
Leading the cast as Wilde will be Jamie Bragg** (left), known for her roles with Oracle Productions (Circle-Machine, This House Believes the American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro, the Jeff-winning The Mother (original and remounted productions),Woyzeck and The Castle) as well as Tiger at the Gates for Promethean.
Bragg says "Gross Indecency's Wilde is no icon. He is incredibly human. I think audiences will identify with his humanity - his childishness, his cowardice, his despair - even as we rightly admire his nobility, bravery and defiance. I am honored (and appropriately terrified) to portray such a brilliant and complicated person."
Lord Alfred Douglas, the young man with whom Wilde had the intimate relationship that sparked Wilde’s criminal charges and trials, will be played by Heather Smith*(below left). Smith has appeared in Waiting for Lefty with Oracle, Midnight Cowboy with Lifeline, as well as Tiger at the Gates, The Lark and most recently The Lion in Winter for Promethean. Actress Cameron Feagin** (below right), whose recent projects include roles in The Winter’s Tale for Promethean and Pride and Prejudice for Lifeline, will play Edward Carson, the attorney who prosecuted Wilde. The play will be performed for two weekends only, at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, from December 9 – 18, 2016.
Kaufman’s 1997 meta-theatrical play is structured with the entire cast of nine serving as narrators, who go on to assume the roles of the people in this historical story. In Promethean’s production, the genders of Wilde, Douglas and Carson will not be changed, but the narrators assuming those roles will be women. Pastor contends this non-traditional casting will uncover new layers of meaning in Kaufman’s text. He explains, “Today, I think, the play carries broader significance than it did when it premiered nearly 20 years ago. It is still, and always will be, a play for the LBGTQ community: an examination of an early gay icon. But, in a world that seems to care more than ever about which bathroom you can use or who has control over whose body, I think this is a story for everyone. At its core, this is a play about beingone’s self; and, frankly, about whether or not the government, society, or anyone else has the right to tell us if that’s okay. When push came to shove, despite unspeakable consequences, Oscar took his own advice: ‘Just be yourself. Everybody else is taken.’”
The cast will also include Kevin Sheehan (Sir Edward Clark & others), Ross Frawley (Queensberry, Gill, Lockwood, Narrator 8), Jennifer Mickelson (Narrator 2, Atkins, Wright, others), Kraig Kelsey (Narrator 4, Mayor, Marvin Taylor & others), Steve Lords (Narrator 1, George Bernard Shaw, Moises Kaufman, others) and Kat Evans (Narrator 3, Parker, Harris, others). Pastor’s production team will include Tom Murphy* (assistant director), Lindsey Miller (stage manager), Jeremiah Barr* (set and props design), Liz Sutherland (lighting designer), Catherine Gillespie** (dialect coach) and Charlie Hano (casting associate).
*Indicates PTE Ensemble Member
**Indicates PTE Artistic Associate
Moisés Kaufman (Playwright) is a Tony and Emmy nominated director and award-winning playwright. Most recently, Mr. Kaufman directed the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning I Am My Own Wifeon Broadway (Obie award for direction, Tony, Outer Critics, Lucille Lortell, Drama Desk Awards nomination). Mr. Kaufman’s plays Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Laramie Project have been among the most performed plays in America over the last decade.
Brian Pastor (Director) has been Promethean’s Artistic Director since the summer of 2014. He is also the Founding Executive Director of PTE. In 2015, Brian became the Executive Director at Raven Theatre after serving 10 and a half years on staff at City Lit Theater, including nine as Managing Director. He is also a former board and company member of The Mime Company and a founding company member of Chicago dell’Arte.
Brian is an experienced actor, adapter and director in Chicago, having worked on over 50 productions with at least a dozen different production companies since his graduation from Northwestern University. For Promethean, Brian has acted in seven mainstage productions, most recently as Warwick in The Lark and as Dr. Watson in the Jeff-nominated A Study in Scarlet. He also directed The Winter’s Tale (Broadway World Award Nomination- Best Director), Henry V, The Dark Side of the Bard, and the critically-acclaimed The Lion in Winter for PTE.
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
by Moisés Kaufman
Directed by Artistic Director Brian Pastor
December 9 – 18, 2016.
City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Chicago
Ticket prices: Adults $25.00, Seniors 65+ $20.00, Students/Children $15.00
Ticketing: Online at http://grossindecencypte.brownpapertickets.com/ beginning Oct 1, 2016
Previews: Friday, December 9 @ 7:30pm
Press Opening: Saturday, December 10 @ 7:30pm