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Reframing The Picture of Dorian Gray

Act Three’s stunning contribution to the Classic Novels season is a 21st century interpretation of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

In this week’s post, Act Three director Andrew McPherson discusses the company’s work on The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Act Three expressing ideas on the main stage at New Wimbledon Theatre

Why did you choose this classic to adapt?

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of those stories that feels like part of British folklore. Though almost 130 years old, this story’s themes resonate loudly with our company.

Often seen as obsessed with image, social media, face-tuning and perfection, our 16-19 year olds and their audience stand to learn a great deal from this gothic moral tale.

What’s going to be the most exciting thing about your version of this classic story?

Bringing this beast of a tale into the 21st century is going to be a brilliant challenge. Though we don’t want to rip it completely from its roots. Finding interesting ways to reference the story’s Victorian origin while making it feel authentically relevant to today’s audience poses a really exciting challenge.

What stage are you at with the company in terms of writing and preparation?

We’re two rehearsals in and hovering very close to finding our hook that’s going to get us into the heart of this story.

We’ve been exploring the contemporary parallels to the plot points, locations, and characters that exist in the story in order to build the world that our version of this tale is going to be set in.

We’ve also been looking at lots of styles of performance that we want to engage with, in order to find a unique way of retelling this classic.

What should audiences expect from this show?

Some of the most gripping story moments in Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece involve stabbings. Exploring these moments in light of the rise of youth knife crime in London is going to be particularly poignant – and a strong route into making this story have a longstanding punch with our audience.

Andrew directs the company on the main stage, September 2019


Watch this space for info on tickets to the show!