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Theatre class to present 'Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde'

Augustana College will "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde" Friday-Sunday in the Black Box Theatre, Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

It deals with the Irish writer's trials on the matter of his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas and others, which led to charges of "committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons" and his imprisonment in 1895. The play is a compilation of interviews and narratives collected and arranged by Kaufman detailing the last few years of Wilde's life. It calls the audience to question such intangible concepts as morality and art, and what control law has over them, if any.

The play is produced by Augustana's Theatre 350: Play Production class. In the class, students assume all of the roles of the production team and work together to create the finished piece. Debo Balogun, Lauren Davis, Megan Hammerer, Jacob Kilburg and Joe Oliger serve as co-directors. Outside assistance includes Emma Brutman as dramaturg and Tori Charnetzki as the props master.

In writing the play, Moises Kaufman was interested in two things. "First, I wanted to tell the story — a story — of these trials. And second, I was interested in using this story to continue to explore how theatre can reshape history. There were as many versions of what had occurred at the trials as there were people involved.... Each told a very personal, sometimes very different, story of what happened."

Tickets are $5 ($3 for students). Tickets can be purchased at the door or online through the Augustana Ticket Office, (309) 794-7306.

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