The Trials of Oscar Wilde

by  John O'Connor, Merlin Holland

Full Length Play, Drama  /  17m, 1f

This play can be performed in its entirety or each act can be performed as a stand-alone piece.

‘I delight in the society of people much younger than myself. I like those who may be called idle and careless. I recognise no social distinctions at all of any kind and to me youth – the mere fact of youth – is so wonderful that I would sooner talk to a young man half an hour than even be, well, cross-examined in court.’

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The Trials of Oscar Wilde

by  John O'Connor Merlin Holland

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    17m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Biography

Additional Info

Thursday 14 February 1895 was the triumphant opening night of The Importance of Being Earnest and the zenith of Wilde’s career. Less than 100 days later, he found himself a common prisoner sentenced to two years hard labour.

 

So what happened during the trials and what did Wilde say? Was he persecuted or the author of his own downfall? Using the actual words spoken in court, we can feel what it was like to be in the company of a flawed genius - as this less than ideal husband was suddenly reduced to a man of no importance.

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Reviews

REVIEWS
“Bons mots and barefaced lies. An astute drama that Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland and John O’Connor have based on the transcripts of Wilde’s court appearances." - The Observer

"A lofty and beguiling Wilde in a smart play that reveals the establishment at its worst" - The Guardian 

"For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play. The result is as good as being in the gallery." - The Independent 

"Oscar Wilde is brought back to life in this new play about the writer’s downfall. John O’Connor and Merlin Holland (the grandson of Wilde) have adapted the transcripts into a fascinating play." - Time Out Lonon 

"There is a prurient fascination here in watching Wilde's shifting moral compass. Writers John O'Connor and Merlin Holland have ensured there is plenty of context - Wilde's barbed point about a brothel being close to the Houses of Parliament is well made. Without attempting to excuse Wilde, this portrays a man whose own arrogance helped precipitate a downfall that was engineered not for what he did, but what he stood for." - The Stage

Considerations

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 / performance of single play, $75 / performance of full collection

    License Requests for single titles should be submitted on individual title pages.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Various settings
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

17m, 1f
OSCAR WILDE
POLICEMAN
MARQUESS OF QUEENSBERRY
SIDNEY WRIGHT
SIR EDWARD CLARKE
QC EDWARD CARSON
QC ALFRED WOOD
WILLIAM ALLEN
ARTHUR (WILDE’S MANSERVANT)
AMERICAN REPORTER
AUCTIONEER
CHARLES GILL
QC CHARLES PARKER
JANE COTTER
ANTONIO MIGGE
FRED ATKINS
JUDGE
FOREMAN OF THE JURY
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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting

Casting Notes

The play can be performed with a minimum of three actors, a full complement of eighteen or anything in between.

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Authors

John O'Connor

John is an actor, director, writer and producer. He studied Drama at the University of Manchester before living and working in Japan. In 2002, he founded the touring theatre group European Arts Company (www.europeanarts.co.uk). Their first production was a British Council sponsored tour of Greece with Harold Pinter's T ...

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Merlin Holland

Merlin Holland, the only grandson of Oscar Wilde, is an author living in France. For the last thirty years he has been researching his grandfather's life and works and writes, lectures and broadcasts regularly on the subject in English, French and German. His publications include Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess, the ...

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First presented by European Arts Company at the Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone on 3rd May 2014 before touring to 43 venues all over the UK.

It transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in London, opening on the 13th October 2014.

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