Follow Oscar Wilde's fall from playwright to prisoner.

In much the same way as many people seem hard-pressed to conjure more than the moment of creation and the mob scene from Frankenstein, it seems to be common knowledge that Oscar Wilde was persecuted for his homosexuality… and that's it.

As part of Sydney's Mardi Gras celebrations, Iain Sinclair directs David Hare's The Judas Kiss which follows Wilde's fall from celebrated playwright to a prisoner sentenced to hard labour.

In 1895, Wilde sued his lover's father for calling him a sodomite. The trial found evidence that Wilde was culpable for gross indecency and he withdrew his case. The Judas Kiss is set in the weeks following, in which Wilde is holed up in a hotel, his friends pleading with him to flee to France before the law catches up with him.

But for Wilde's customary flamboyant wit, there is little to celebrate in the play's events. Wilde was ruthlessly manipulated by his lover, imprisoned and eventually died in exile. It's an important story, but don't go in expecting Lady Windermere's Fan.

Published on January 31, 2017 by Matt Abotomey

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