Tags : immersivetheatre, promenade, interactive, gothic, oscarwilde ContentAdvisory, MobilityAdvisory see below. Event Link. It is in Victorian London, England. A radiantly handsome, impressionable, and wealthy young man is painted by a local London artist. A Faustian pledge to the devil to stay always as young as his portrait begins his dark pursuit of personal pleasure above all else. Led by the charming talk and famous wit of Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian becomes obsessed with beauty, youth, pleasure, and the importance of immediacy.
And as the rest of the world ages, Dorian stays youthful. But his portrait, covered in secret in his dark attic, shows his true age, and the horrific result of his terrible transgressions that include a savagely cruel, cold-blooded murder and even more gruesome cover-up.
See Oscar Wilde's Handwritten Edits to The Picture of Dorian Gray | Literary Hub
This beautiful, immersive production will be presented in promenade fashion, where you will move from scene to scene, following actors and scene changes that transport you through time and place, from a pleasant social affair to a dark, smoky opium den. Due to the immersive nature of this production, there is a limited capacity of only 45 people per night.
NoPro is a labor of love made possible by our generous Patreon backers: join them today! Contact Level: None. Content Advisories: Mature subject matter, murder, loud noises. It is at these times that the virtues of the wholly aesthetic life become questionable. The ruination of Dorian Gray, the embodiment of unbridled aestheticism, illustrates the immorality of such a lifestyle and gravely demonstrates its consequences.
Wilde himself admits, in a letter to the St. Aestheticism does well to condemn the renunciation of desires, but it is an excessive obedience to these desires that is subversively dangerous. The character of Dorian Gray and the story of his profound degeneration provide a case study examining the viability of purely aesthetic lives.
Dorian lives according to what Lord Henry professes without hesitation, and what Lord Henry inspires Dorian, through persuasive rhetoric, is an attitude indifferent to consequence and altogether amoral. Dorian pursues Sibyl from first sights, intent on acquiring her before he ever attempts to truly know her. For Dorian, whose uncontrolled aestheticism rejects the concept of morality, the immorality of his actions goes unrecognized.
In his pursuit of his own pleasures, a distinctly narcissistic attitude emerges, and the incompatibility of morality and unconditional aestheticism becomes all the more apparent. This self-absorption, then, appears to be an inevitable consequence of aestheticism. Only a more deliberate practice of aestheticism may harness this egotism and avoid the immorality Dorian embodies.
According to mythology, Narcissus, upon catching a glimpse of his reflection in a pool, becomes so enraptured by it that he stood and admired it endlessly, unmoving for the rest of his life. Eventually, as in the myth of Narcissus, such egotism has its consequences.
In the end, as a testament to the purely aesthetic life, the only legacy Dorian leaves behind—everything that identifies him as who he was—is his superficial jewelry. There is an argument, then, made by Wilde for a new aestheticism, approached with more constraint than Dorian employs. This argument is based not only in the moral obligation of the individual, but with the betterment of all of society in mind. Arnold focuses on its detrimental effects on society and the possibility for societal improvement when aesthetic tendencies are properly controlled.
As Arnold views his contemporary society, it is arranged hierarchically, dividing the aristocrats, the middle-class, and the working-class, all of which, Arnold laments, are inclined to live hedonistically, pursuing pleasure and only what is comfortable and easy.
Why did this block occur?
Arnold is optimistic that some may pursue beyond the immediately pleasurable and act to perfect themselves both morally and intellectually. This pursuit of perfection, however, is likely an arduous and uncomfortable task, and is therefore incompatible with pure aestheticism. Some concessions must be made for the absolute aesthete, then, for such transcendence occur. Dorian exemplifies a regression in social intellect from his beginnings rather than the kind of transcendence hoped for by Arnold. Dorian displays no such pursuit of intellectual perfection as he is slowly corrupted and in turn corrupts others, luring them with him into the slums and opium dens of London.
The mere existence of these aliens, however, provides hope that the utter hedonists of society may learn to harness their damaging tendencies, and in doing so, better the intellectual and moral state of humankind. Indeed, Dorian appears to realize the consequences of his unbridled aestheticism; however, he is much too far gone to salvage.
Forbidden love: the original Dorian Gray revealed, direct from Oscar Wilde’s pen
It can be bought, and sold, and bartered away. It can be poisoned or made perfect. There is a soul in each one of us. Unfortunately for Dorian, this realization comes too late to save his soul from its degradation, long-nurtured by a purely aesthetic life, and he is destroyed. Wilde realized and depicted in the life of Dorian Gray, a need for a more controlled and deliberate approach to aestheticism, without which morality will inevitably be elusive.
The adoption of unrestrained aestheticism, as exhibited by Dorian, results in a lack of remorse, self-absorption, and intellectual regression. For the sake of preserving morality, a concept proven incompatible with pure aestheticism, more deliberation is necessary from the aesthete in deciding upon action. As Wilde makes clear, it is only through a more restrained philosophy that aestheticism and morality may eventually align. Arnold, Matthew. Andrew Elfenbein. NY: Pearson Longman, Becker-Leckrone, Megan.
Craft, Christopher. Matsuoka, Mitsuharu.