corin redgrave reads oscar wilde's
edited by merlin holland
director ~ richard nelson
at lyttleton ,national theatre
towards the end of his sentence in Reading Gaol, Wilde was agonising over the lack of contact with Bosie. In desperation, he started to write him a letter.
‘You came to me to learn the pleasure of life and the pleasure of art. Perhaps I am chosen to teach you something more wonderful – the meaning of sorrow and its beauty.’It is perhaps the greatest love letter ever written. Filled with a torrent of accusation, recrimination and passion, Wilde eventually reached an extraordinary state of understanding and reconciliation. A century later De Profundis remains an astonishing tour-de-force of self analysis.
Reviving his National Theatre performance from 2000, Corin Redgrave reads De Profundis.
Running time is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes including interval.
Merlin Holland is Oscar Wilde's grandson.
at the end of this show i was a little bemused to hear all redgrave's fans calling bravo as he frail-y but determinedly re-mounted his podium to receive the lengthy ovations - this had seemed at first rather old fashioned stuff, full of eloquence and style but delivering little (m wondered if it was a little like it must have been seeing Michael Macliammor perform)
but in fact this was quite gentle - and happily not at all over-performed
at first in fact i thought i would have liked a stronger performance - more bitterness/ more camp? - but on reflection i think what redgrave gave us allowed me to dwell on the man behind the words and the thinking and wonder more about who he was and how he felt than to lock into the energy of the wit, the iconography, the symbolism of what he has come to stand for and against. this is very much a piece of 'thinking out loud' with a sense that wilde is working out his thinking as he writes rather than declaiming previously invented notions. and he is in this a man surprisingly free of bitterness, touchjed with self-irony along with the pique and real understanding: he is no Lear to rail against the fates of god and man but rather full of a deep wisdom and caring of what it is to be human.
a soft haunting performance that has crept into me rather by surprise