‘The Trials of Oscar Wilde’, written by Merlin Holland, Wilde’s only surviving grandson, and international director John O’Connor, is based upon dramatised Court records, journalist’s notes and newspaper reports of the three trials involving the flawed genius. Centre Stage Theatre Co Ltd, are planning a professional regional touring production of this thrilling courtroom drama hosted in a range of venues across Northern Ireland during late February and March 2019.
We anticipate that the play will resonate with local audiences by highlighting aspects of prejudicial treatment of Wilde by the legal system at that time and will draw attention to the role that other key historical figures had in his downfall. From the actual transcript of Edward Carson’s brilliant cross-examination of Wilde in the first of the trials to Wilde’s last heartfelt words in court after sentencing ‘...and I... may I say nothing, my Lord?’, Ironically it was Wilde’s inability to realise the actual ‘importance of being earnest’ – superbly explored by Holland & O’Connor - that contributed to the failure of his libel action against his lover’s father, the Marquess of Queensbury, and ultimately to his downfall in the two subsequent prosecutions which finally led to his conviction for gross indecency. The play is extremely pertinent to contemporaneous events in Northern Ireland and the complex issues surrounding celebrity, homosexuality and the judiciary.