For anyone with little knowledge of one of the most celebrated writers in history, The Masks of Oscar Wilde will take you on an exploration of his life and times, hitting all of the highlights. Those looking for a deeper exploration may want to look elsewhere.
Using a device that playwrights Shaul Ezer and C.E. Gatchalian refer to as “lecture-in-play”, an unknown lecturer sets out to reveal Wilde’s life by exploring what lies behind his metaphorical masks. Constantly interrupted by what appears to be a student, the play becomes a meandering combination of historical biography, passages from his works and Victorian silhouettes.
Sean Harris Oliver and Tamara McCarthy are engaging as they take on the multitude of characters, both real and fictional, but even they feel lost within the play’s sometimes odd structure.
Many would argue that the Fringe is all about risks in exploring new ways to tell stories. The Masks of Oscar Wilde attempts that and while not always successful, it is surprisingly refreshing.
The Masks of Oscar Wilde by Shaul Ezer with C.E. Gatchalian. A Matchmaker Productions presentation in association with the frank theatre company. Playing at the Revue Stage (1601 Johnston St, Granville Island) as part of the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and showtimes.