When most people think of the classics of theatre they think of great and memorable lines such as “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.” From Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and last but not least, “After all, what’s a little syphilis between friends?” the last song of the first act of Thomas Shehan’s Dorian Gray.
This risqu/ line, coming from one of the show’s many scenes involving prostitution, was just one of many that characterized Dorian Gray’s surprisingly upfront depictions of the corruption and immorality that overtake the main character. He agrees to trade his soul so that a portrait painted of him would reflect his age and transgressions, while his corporeal body is basked in eternal youth and beauty.
Dorian Gray, a musical playing at the Lincoln Center, marked the beginning of the theatre season for the Open Stage Theatre Company, it also marked the company’s most expensive show in its 30-year history, cashing in at a hefty $50,000 in production costs.
Though the show tackled some risqu/ subjects; such as two men kissing onstage, many references to prostitution and heavy drug use, apparently the results were not graphic enough for some theatre-goers.
“The suicide scene was not very realistic,” psychology major Mike Stone said, “I wanna see her take the knife through her heart or something.”
Andy Dixson, CSU journalism major said the production was, “Kinda interesting, darker than most things you see around town.”
While the show does depict in detail some of the less than family friendly aspects of human nature, it works towards the show’s eventual moral that there is more to life than beauty.
“If it didn’t have the moral messages in it, I wouldn’t have done the show,” said female lead Christianna Sullins.
Despite being a world premiere musical with a completely original score, the show has kept a relatively low profile around Fort Collins.
“It (the Lincoln center mini theatre) has only been 50 to 80 percent full since it opened.” Dixson, who works at the Lincoln Center, said. “It is hard to sell a show like this without name recognition, if it was Shakespeare or something this place would be full.”
Many Fort Collins residents are unfamiliar with the classic novel by Oscar Wilde, which the book by Thomas Sheehan was based, of which the musical is based.
“We have people calling the box office all the time and asking stuff like ‘Who’s Dorian Gray? Can I speak with him?'” Dixson said.
Paul Green, who played Dorian Gray, specifically did not read Oscar Wilde’s classic because he felt that it might skew his interpretation of Sheehan’s screenplay.
“All the research I needed was in the script,” Green said, “the whole journey is there.”
Green also stated that he felt privileged to be a part of the world premier show.
“You go out and see all these shows but they all started somewhere. It (Dorian Gray) is a chance to see where these things begin,” Green said.
Even though the play is set in the 1800s many college students should still be able to connect to the main character.
“Dorian is young, wide eyed and looking at the entire future in front of him,” Green said. “Every college student feels that.”
Breakout Box: This weekend OpenStage Theatre will present two one-act plays: Heart’s Desire and Bluebeard’s Gold at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center, 417 West Magnolia St.
Possible pull quotes: “Theatre is the greatest form of creative expression.” Paul Green
“Beauty must survive at all costs, after all what more do we have?” Dorian Gray