Wilde card

Lambda Players goes behind-the-scenes with Oscar and Bosie

Michael Hedges and Rand Martin star as ill-fated lovers in <i>Oscar and Bosie</i>.

Michael Hedges and Rand Martin star as ill-fated lovers in Oscar and Bosie.

Rated 3.0

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Death of Oscar Wilde, local playwright Gregg Peterson has crafted a behind-the-scenes drama in his new work, Oscar and Bosie, which opens the Lambda Players’ 2000-01 season.

Not that anyone needs to be told of Wilde’s (Rand Martin in a heartfelt performance) accomplishments as a poet and playwright, but the trial for gross indecency that came as a repercussion from his 10-year affair with a much younger man—Lord Alfred Douglas, or Bosie (Michael Hedges)—and landed him in prison for two years is not so sharply in focus. To correct this deficiency, Peterson delineates the pair’s prickly relationship, from their starry-eyed meeting to their bitter, recriminating separation—complete with jealousies, infidelities and bons mots. Beyond that, Peterson holds the wrongs done to Wilde up as a call to arms for the modern-day GLBT community. It’s a weighty task, and in some ways, it proves beyond the means of the cast.

It’s probably a minor quibble, but more attention should be paid to makeup, wigs, costuming and accents if the show is to be accepted as set in 1890s England. But on the plus side, director and set designer Chad Cornwell has rounded up an energetic and enthusiastic cast and created an elaborate Victorian living space for them to occupy.

Many cast members are delightful—West Ramsey, Harvey Farr and Matthew Burlingame-Couk lend real sparkle—the real problem seems to be the play’s structure. Eight sprawling scenes comprising Wilde and Bosie’s life before the trial make the first half, while three after Wilde’s conviction finish it up. It seems strange that while we are told the couple adored one another, what we see are the seamier aspects of the couple’s life together—the cattiness, the seemingly endless cheating on each other—and very little of their enthrallment. From a historical perspective, the show is thought-provoking, but on a personal one, Oscar and Bosie needs a little fine-tuning.