Archives for posts with tag: Dorian Gray

Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I bring you guest authors and books, in a shape or another, and recently I decided to start exploring classics again. As my original posts are quite old I thought it might be worth sharing some of the early ones again as many of you might not have been visiting at the time and might enjoy them.

I got many interesting suggestions for other guests that I’ve taken note of (and it’s likely that I’ll start exploring quite a few of them) but an author I know made a suggestion that resonated with me. She told me that one of her books (I’ll share in a few weeks as by the sound of it, it should be a fabulous read) follows quite closely on the steps of a famous classic and she commented on how tagging a new book related to a classic to a post on the classic itself might be a good way to kill two birds with one stone. And I thought, genius! So, although I have a few in mind, if you’ve written a book that is either a new version, a continuation, explores one of the characters,  takes place in the world of a classic (or even has one of the writers as a character), or has any strong link to a classic, please let me know in the comments or contact me with the details and I’ll add it to my list. 

And now, without further ado, one of my favourites. I bring you my post on Oscar Wilde. As you know I also shared the Selfish Giant over Christmas. And I’m sure I’ll keep on sharing his work.
It’s Friday and it’s again with great pleasure that I bring you one of my favourite authors. Yes, yes, he’s no longer with us but I feel he could hardly be with us more than he is. I’ve loved Oscar Wilde from a young age. I remember my friend Margarita would read everything Poe (I also enjoyed him) and I asked for the complete works of Oscar Wilde as a Christmas present. And loved them!

Oscar Wilde in New York

Oscar Wilde in New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What can I tell you about him? There are films, biographies, and more recently even novels where he is a character in its own right (involved in quite fun intrigues).

He was born in Dublin in 1853. His father was a doctor and a well-known eminent one. His mother wrote revolutionary poems, spoke several European languages and translated many works. He had an older brother and a sister who died of Scarlet Fever (I love ‘Requiescat’…simple and touching, quite different from much of his other work).

He was an excellent student, excelled at classics, studied at Trinity College in Dublin and Magdalene College in Oxford and became enamoured with aestheticism, to the point where he went to America to deliver a series of lectures on the subject.

He was writing poetry, early plays, went to France and married Constance Lloyd an educated woman with her own mind. He wrote Dorian and in rapid succession many of his plays and became very popular.

His wit is legendary, his homosexuality too, his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, trial, imprisonment, his famous ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ all well known…And he died in Paris in 1900 and you can see his grave at La Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. I love Epstein’s angel sculpture on his grave (Yes, of course I’ve visited. More than once).

Tomb of Oscar Wilde by Jacob Epstein

Tomb of Oscar Wilde by Jacob Epstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I’ve been there recently and now it has a glass case around it to avoid the kisses, but there are still kisses.

There are many websites about Oscar Wilde, I leave you one link but…many…

Before I offer you free links to some of his works in electronic format I will offer you some of his quotes. There are so many….

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”

— “An Ideal Husband”

“The Book of Life begins with a man and woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations.”

— “A Woman of No Importance”

“Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualification.”

— “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime”

“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”

— “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”

“One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.”

— “A Woman of No Importance”

“I prefer women with a past. They’re always so damned amusing to talk to.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

“I don’t like compliments, and I don’t see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn’t mean.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

“Men become old, but they never become good.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

“A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is invariably plain.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

And now a few links. There are also very cheap versions of his works so…

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

‘The Picture of Doria Gray’

‘The Canterville Ghost’

‘An Ideal Husband’

The Happy Prince and Other Tales (I adore his tales. Some are just funny and amusing, but some like the Happy Prince and the Selfish Giant really have a heart).

Selected poems of Oscar Wilde

I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Thank you for reading and please, like, comment, share and CLICK!

My rantings about book promotion made me decide that as I don’t really know what works (and I haven’t seen many scientific studies on the subject applicable to me) I’d rather do things that I like. One is writing. I also love reading, so I’ll carry on hosting guest authors (even classics that have stood the test of time), but I also love other things. I go to the cinema and to the theatre often, and I also enjoy other performances.

Publicity shot of the original cast of Tchaiko...

Publicity shot of the original cast of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, St Petersburg: Mariinsky Theater, 1890. Carlotta Brianza starred as Aurora. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 24th of May I went to see Matthew Bourne’s version of the Sleeping Beauty, Tchaikovsky’s well known ballet. Matthew Bourne, for those who don’t know him, is much more than a choreographer. His ballets are full blown creations, where everything (story, music, dancing, clothes, staging) is part of the story. If I could only say one thing about him I’d say he’s never boring. His ballets are not the formal, points and tutus kind of thing many people have in mind. Although he does versions of classics (together with completely new ballets, like ‘Dorian Gray’ or ‘Car Man) and the quality of the dancing is as good, if not better, than anything you’ll see, it is never quite the story you remember.
I have been following his work for the last 9 or 10 years, although New Adventures, his company, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. I first heard him being interviewed in Radio 2 (BBC) when he was talking about ‘Highland Fling’ (and let me tell you, that’s a ‘wee [read little, Scottish expression] Scottish ballet’ with its first scene set in male urinals. It gets increasingly fanciful as it goes along, and I particularly loved the fairy with her tiny suitcase) that was touring. As it was going to be performed at the Lowry (if you have a chance and are visiting Manchester in the UK, don’t miss the Lowry museum and theatre and right next to it the Imperial War Museum North. Both incredible buildings always hosting great exhibitions) I had to go. And I’ve followed him since.

Matthew Bourne, choreographer for the stage ad...

Matthew Bourne, choreographer for the stage adaptation of Edward Scissorhands, backstage in Melbourne 2006-11-28. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But enough preamble. To ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Matthew (not sure I should take such familiarities with him, but I’ve seen him at a Q&A session, so…I’ll consider him a friend) had to change it a tiny bit. In the programme of yesterday’s performance he explains that one of the problem with the story is that the prince just turns up at the end and rescues Aurora and there’s no real love story. So he decided that Aurora and Leo (he’s not a prince, he’s a gardener/keeper in the Castle) should meet and be in love before she falls asleep. One of my personal problems with the story is that Aurora spends most of the story asleep and indeed she’s an object of desire. Although that still happens, the Aurora in his version seems to be part of some sort of deal with the bad fairy, and she’s a bit of a special child. The wonderful puppet that substitutes the baby Aurora is quite wild, climbing up curtains and never doing what is expected. The young Aurora is also fairly wild and loves to take her shoes off and dance barefoot in the woods.
What else changes? Yes, some of the fairies are male (no surprises there, if you’ve seen the Nutcracker you know fairies come in all sizes, shapes and genders) and…if you love vampires…you’ll like this ballet. We have another baddy, we have mobile phones and modern day clothes, wonderful costumes, beautiful dancing…
To me Matthew Bourne’s ballets are very cinematic and a full spectacle. He tells wonderful stories and the ballet is a medium rather than the end.
Any buts? I would probably have preferred live music. And despite how much I love the puppetry, sometimes the technical aspects of it make the changes of set a bit clanky.
But if you have any opportunity to watch this or any other of his ballets, don’t miss it. If you like ballets, because they’re wonderful. If you don’t, because they are refreshingly different. They’re magical.
Thanks for reading!

Mis protestas sobre promociones de libros me hicieron tomar la decisión de que ya que no sé qué funciona (y no he encontrado muchos estudios usando metodología ciéntifica sobre el tema y menos aún que me sean aplicables) más vale que haga cosas que me gustan. Una de ellas es escribir. También me encanta leer y seguiré teniendo autores invitados (incluso clásicos que han sobrevivido el paso del tiempo), pero también me gustan otras cosas. A menudo voy al cine y al teatro y a veces voy a ver otras cosas.

Publicity shot of the original cast of Tchaiko...

Publicity shot of the original cast of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, St Petersburg: Mariinsky Theater, 1890. Carlotta Brianza starred as Aurora. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

El 24 de Mayo, fui a ver la Bella Durmiente, el famoso ballet con música de Tchaikovsky. Matthew Bourne, para los que no le conozcáis, es mucho más que un coreógrafo. Sus ballets son creaciones en todos los sentidos, donde todo (la historia, la música, la danza, el vestuario, el escenario) es parte de la historia. Si sólo pudiera decir una cosa sobre él diría que aburrido desde luego no lo es. Sus ballets no son los típicos formales con tutus y puntas que la mayoría de la gente imagina cuando les mencionan un ballet. Aunque hace versiones de clásicos (aunque también ballets completamente nuevos como ‘Dorian Gray’ o ‘Car Man) y la calidad de la danza es tan buena, si no mejor, que nada que hayáis visto, nunca es exactamente la historia que recuerdas.

Matthew Bourne, choreographer for the stage ad...

Matthew Bourne, choreographer for the stage adaptation of Edward Scissorhands, backstage in Melbourne 2006-11-28. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yo llevo siguiendo su trabajo hace 9 ó 10 años, aunque su compañía, New Adventures (Nuevas Aventuras), celebra el 25 aniversario este año. Mi primer contacto con él fue cuando le oí entrevistado en Radio 2 (BBC) hablando de su ballet ‘Highland Fling’ (y dejadme que os diga que lo que él define como ‘un pequeño ballet escocés’ empieza con una escena en unos urinarios. La fantasía de la historia aumenta a medida que avanza, y a mí me encantó el hada con su maletita) que estaba de tour por el Reino Unido. Como estaba programado en el teatro del centro Lowry (si tienen oportunidad de visitar Manchester no se pierdan The Lowry y su vecino The Imperial War Museum North. Los dos son unos edificios modernos increíbles y siempre tienen exhibiciones interesantes) tuve que ir. Y le he seguido desde entonces.
Pero ya basta de preámbulos. Hablemos de ‘La Bella Durmiente’. Matthew (no estoy segura de que deba tutearle, pero como lo he visto en vivo en una ronda de preguntas le considero un amigo. Espero que sea mutuo) tuvo que cambiar la historia un poquito. En el programa explica que uno de los problemas con la historia es que el príncipe llega al final, rescata a Aurora y pin pan, ya está. No hay historia de amor ni romance. Así que decidió que Aurora y Leo (él no es un príncipe, es un jardinero del castillo) se conocen y se enamoran antes de que ella se duerma. Uno de los problemas que yo tengo con la historia es que Aurora se pasa la mayor parte del cuento dormida y es un objeto de deseo (y desvalida que necesita protección y rescate masculino). Aunque eso pasa, la Aurora de esta versión parece ser el resultado de algún arreglo entre los padres de Aurora y el hada mala, y es una criatura un pelín especial. La maravillosa marioneta que sustituye a Aurora de bebé es muy salvaje, trepando por las cortinas, y sin hacer jamás lo que se espera de ella. La joven Aurora también es un espíritu libre y nada le gusta más que quitarse los zapatos y bailar descalza por el bosque.
¿Qué otras cosas cambian? Sí, algunas de las hadas son hombre (no es una gran sorpresa, si habéis visto su Cascanueces ya sabéis que hay hadas de todas tallas, formas y sexos) y…si os gustan los vampiros…os gustará este ballet. Hay otro malo, teléfonos móviles y ropa moderna (incluso sudaderas), vestuario magnífico, danza bellísima y expresiva…
A mí los ballets de Matthew Bourne me parecen muy cinematográficos y son un espectáculo completo. Cuenta unas historias maravillosas y el ballet es un medio de expresión más que un fin en sí mismo.
¿Algún pero? Probablemente preferiría música en directo. Y a pesar de lo que me encantó la marioneta, a veces los aspectos técnicos de tener que cambiar el muñeco hacían rechinar un poco los engranajes de la producción.
Si tenéis oportunidad de ver éste o cualquier otro de sus ballets, no la dejéis pasar. Si os gusta el ballet porque son fabulosos. Si no os gusta, porque son refrescantemente diferentes y mágicos.
Gracias por leer!

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