Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born October 16, 1854 in Dublin Ireland. His father was a doctor and his mother a poet. He grew up surrounded by artists and intellectuals at the literary salons organized by his mother, exposing him at an early age to culture, elegance and an appreciation for wit.

He graduated from Oxford University in 1878 with a classical education, a coveted award for poetry and a marvelous wit and unconventional outlook on life. He became a media giant for his time--a celebrity for his writing, his lectures and his flamboyant lifestyle and marketed himself as the personification of the Aesthetic Movement. In 1882 he delivered a series of lectures over a 10-month period in Canada and the US. Shortly after his return to England he arranged a lecture tour of Great Britain and Ireland and married a former acquaintance, Constance Lloyd. His public image of domestic responsibility as a hasband and father were undermined by indiscreet relationships with Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie). When The Importance of Being Earnest was first performed in 1895 Wilde's fame and celebrity were at their height; however, within a couple of months he faced a scandalous court case, was found guilty of gross indecency and sentenced to two horrendous years in prison. His health deteriorated terribly, he lost all of his wealth and spent his remaining years after being released from prison in small towns in France. In 1900 he died penniless and with few friends in the world at the age of 46.

His works were banned for about ten years following his death, but by the 1920's his plays were being shown again and soon his works were once again dominating the literary world--second only to William Shakespeare.
A documentary about Wilde was produced on A&E Biography which you can view in seven parts with these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Paradise by the River at the Centaur Theatre

by Vitorrio Rossi, directed by Joel Miller

Synopsis: In this epic and moving story, Romano, a recent immigrant, is forced to unearth his courage after being arrested without charge in his Ville-Émard home. Torn from the arms of his terrified and pregnant wife, Maria, Romano is held against his will with hundreds of men of Italian descent at a prisoner of war camp in Petawawa, Ontario. Canada has officially declared war against Italy. In the meantime, his family and friends must find the strength and spirit to move forward. This powerful drama details the struggle to preserve morality in a nation seemingly intent on its demise. Paradise by the River acknowledges the 70th anniversary of the internment of Italian-Canadians.
You can read the review that was in the Montreal Gazette here
or one from the 5th Dimension here. You can read the entire text of Bill C-302 which recognizes the injustice done to Italian Canadians during the World War II here.

The Centaur Theatre 453 St. François0Xavier, Old Montreal
Directions from the Metro: Place d'Armes Metro Station. Take St-Urbain exit. Once outside turn right (south) towards the Notre Dame Basilica. Walk up 2 blocks to Notre Dame Street. On Notre Dame Street turn right. Walk 1 block to St François-Xavier and turn left. The Centaur Theatre is on the left-hand side.

From AUTOROUTE VILLE MARIE: Take Berri/St-Laurent Exit. Stay Left--Turn left on Rue Viger. Left on St-Urbain. Right on St-Paul. Right on St. François-Xavier. The Centaur Theatre is on the East side. From DOWNTOWN: Take St-Jacques going East. Right on Peel St. (at Dow Planetarium). Left on Notre Dame. Continue until Notre Dame Basilica. Turn Right on St-Sulpice. Right on St-Paul. Right on St François-Xavier. Centaur Theatre is on the East Side.

Writing Assignment: Describe two or three ways in which live theatre is more effective than cinema at telling a story. Use examples from the play to defend your reasons. Your essay must be typed, double-spaced and 250-350 words.