Wilde about ‘Dorian Grey’

Dramashop’s production of “Dorian Grey” will leave its audiences talking and potentially coming back to understand the story more.

This production is part of a Studio Series, which Dramashop uses to be a bit more experimental. The script, written by Jessica Flock, is based on “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

Audience members who read the book or watch the movie will be able to see some parallelism between the two stories with a gender swap.

“Dorian Grey” tells the story of the title character, played by Jessica Annunziata. Grey is known for being very wealthy, though she has a dark past. The show opens as surrounding voices tell her that one day her beauty will fade and everything that was handed to her will be gone.

The following scene shows Grey at a photoshoot where Baz, played by Adele Stewart, gets an array of shots of Grey to be printed, for which she signed a nondisclosure agreement.

Baz’s boss Whit, played by Beau Bora, wants to persuade Grey to sign an exemption so that he can release her photos immediately to high-paying advertising agencies and insists that Baz prints her photos immediately.

Baz visits Grey at her estate to discuss the nondisclosure agreement, shows Grey her favorite print of the pictures she took – which Grey falls in love with – and ends up visiting her a couple of times more afterward, beginning a friendship.

Though Grey’s character seems misunderstood at the beginning, the plot reveals a darker side that evolves with her obsession with the portrait Baz gave to her. The story has a couple of unexpected twists and turns, but those who know the Oscar Wilde tale will see it coming.

Audiences will leave the show with some questions and replaying scenarios in their head trying to figure out what happened and why.

The cast of the show did well to bring their characters to life, but some of the motives were a bit unclear. Annunziata grew from soft-spoken to dark and disturbed across the course of the show. She had the difficulty of speaking in the words of a gothic era while the show was set in modern times, which may have caused a lack of communication with the character’s motives.

Stewart, who has appeared in other shows at Dramashop and The Erie Playhouse, starred in one of her first more dramatic and serious roles.

It’s difficult to tell what the servants of the house were supposed to be. Upon first glance, they appear to just be servants, but some of their robotic movements and speech patterns hinted at something else, though they could have just been stoic house servants.

Technical aspects of the show pan out well, though artistic director Zach Flock noted that on Friday night during the power outage, Dramashop had to finish the show with flashlights.

Overall, the actors did well and the storyline is interesting. However, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions, which may confuse some audience members. ‘Dorian Grey’ continues at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Tickets are $5 per person.

KHADIJA DJELLOULI

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