Oscar Wilde put on trial in production of “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde”


Maddie Hamilton, Photography Editor / The Bucknellian

Michael Taromina, News Assistant Editor

The Harvey Powers Theatre will be hosting “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” by Moisés Kaufman from March 30-April 1. 

The students of Dr. Bryan Vandevender’s Theatre 265 class, titled “Introduction to Dramaturgy,” spent the Fall 2022 semester preparing for this production. The play focuses on the trials of Oscar Wilde after being arrested for soliciting homosexual sex, or “gross indecency” in 1895. 

After being awarded the Dalal Creativity and Innovation Grant for Student-Faculty Collaboration, the students of Vandevender’s class are being paid to continue their research on Victorian England, Wilde’s work as a poet and playwright, the British legal system and audience outreach throughout Gross Indecency’s rehearsal process. 

During the fall of 2019, in preparation for what would have been the spring of 2020 production of the musical “Cabaret,” eight individuals spent their semester researching the culture of theater within Weimar Germany through independent projects. The production of “Cabaret” never opened due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This year’s discussion-based course was composed of only one member of each class year: Paige Gilmartin ’26, Nathaniel Samuels ’25, Madison Buckley ’24 and Zoe Wilson ’23. 

Throughout the range of experience levels — as performers, stage managers, ushers, etc. — within the Department of Theater and Dance, the students created an electric classroom environment during the semester. 

“One of the highlights has been working on the projections which illuminate the screen behind the actors during the play,” Wilson said. “As a senior non-theatre major, I am grateful for the opportunity THEA 265 and Bryan have given me to immerse myself in the department and put my love of the theater to good use.”

In the process of production, the students constructed a timeline of events occurring before and after the events of the play and curated an image gallery to bring accuracy and history to life on the stage. Additionally, both were established for design inspiration set to grace the Harvey Powers Theater. 

Wilson was also sought out often by the director, Dr. Bryan Vandevender, to join weekly production meetings to answer any questions the designers may have regarding historical accuracy and dramaturgical vision. 

“My personal favorite project was a report I wrote about two famous Oscar Wilde lectures, “The English Renaissance of Art” and “The House Beautiful,” which was jointly about the content of the speeches and what we can glean from them about the way Wilde saw himself and the world around him,” Wilson said.

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