Theater Jun 20, 2018 at 4:00 am

Their version of the Oscar Wilde classic is a happy reminder of how good good theater can be.

ryan lowry



Bowled over by this. One detail caught my attention and led to me making a Facebook post about it. DO NOT READ THIS if you plan on going to the play. Come back and read it later, yeah?

I saw The Picture of Dorian Gray yesterday at Book-It. Truly outstanding.

I sat in the second row center. With my up close seat, I had a view of the actors and their choices that was terrific. One of the actor choices that I saw astounded me.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is about, in part, "illicit" physical and emotional love between men -- illicit for the prejudiced times,that is. The character who represented more fully the "physical" expression of homosexual love is Lord Wooton. A hedonist of the first order, he proceeds to verbally seduce the very young and very innocent Dorian Gray into acting on Dorian's instant and surprised attraction to the yummy Lord Wooton.

The actor who plays Lord Wooton is beautifully dressed, impeccably tailored in a gray suit with long tails. The actor has the most amazing long legs and the cut of this suit emphasizes them. (Well, to me they were emphasized. I am captivated by long legs. Always have been. Maybe the cut of the suit had nothing to do with it!)

Here I am in the second row center, and I become somewhat aware that this actor with the long long legs is, yes, is obviously.... going commando under his beautifully tailored suit!

Friends of the show Friends will know what this means. To everyone else, it means he was obviously without any underwear.

It takes a lot of puzzled looks before I figure it out. But yes, he is full commando. And he is emphasizing it by his stance that favors the leg he dresses towards -- there is, to me, an obvious "presentation of the goods" in every elegant pose with his right leg cocked forward. (There is also a fascinating tick tock rhythmic sway on occasion, if I may be so honest.)

Yes. I said cocked. It was cocked forward. The leg.

It was absolutely in keeping with the play, and added to the character that this actor had built. (It also, I happen to know, is historically accurate. Queen Victoria's diary was explicit in her admiration of how Albert's pants fit him, written before they were married. What you learn on BBC and Masterpiece Theater, I swear.)

But I am still not 100% sure that I am "reading" this correctly, and I am curious about the next act.

When we see Lord Wooton next, he is 20 years older. He is more tired, balding, has a little paunch that wasn't there before. No evidence of commando and I wonder if I have been having a slight fever dream (long legs get me going, as I have already said.)

But I knew, really, that I wasn't making this up. And I realize that something has changed in Lord Wooton. He no longer stands in the preening, presentation mode he had been standing in before. Now he is just.... standing. Straight up. No pose, no presentation, no leg held forward. The man is older and tired and shopworn, for all his continued elegance. It isn't always on his mind now that he is older.

What a brilliant little bit of Actor Choice. This actor thought about this deeply and he inhabited that man's body in this tiny little detail that played out over the life of the character. I am in awe of his work. He figured this out and although most of the audience couldn't see it consciously, it was there. Because Lord Wooton was there. He created Lord Wooton.

This started as a funny penis story. It ends in admiration for the stagecraft.

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