Teatru Manoel in collaboration with Moveo Dance company are staging a contemporary dance version of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” at the Manoel on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th May at 8pm.
Some have suggested that this production could also be titled A Portrait of the Human Soul. Dorian Mallia, choreographer, spares no liberties in portraying morality and the depth of the human condition, “This work in particular is one which has intrigued me for quite a while and over the years I have developed a very personal connection to it. It is so true that Wilde had nothing to declare but [his] genius!”
The appeal of this work by Wilde for Dorian Mallia is its ability to be so timeless – dealing with many current issues; the cult of youth – our obsession with hanging on to our youth is reflected in many parts of popular culture (Twilight, botox, liposuction etc); the beauty of art for arts’ sake – which is reflected on catwalks all over the world and fashion magazines; the scandal and sexuality – the love that dare not speak its name – are two words which go hand in hand with Oscar Wilde’s name.
This work will convey these themes throughout the piece and put on a current, appealing production, dealing with these identifiable issues within all of us. Such will be depicted in an abstract rather than a literal manner where Mallia plays on undoing the traditional approach to the novel. Instead, Dorian Gray will encompass an ambiguous strange notion, where the performing body plays with identities and meanings at the site of the body. A full exploration of this movement vocabulary leads to creating a language where the body is depicted beyond norms, discovering alternate ways of moving and creating work which is subtle and extravagant, sumptuous and wild and often interpreted with a sense of freedom. By interpreting Wilde’s work from an ambiguous perspective, Mallia is sure to provoke and bring out the very controversial elements that Wilde himself brought out with force in his book.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, showing on the 3rd and 4th May at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta, is centred around the defining power of art and will prove to be deeply moving and provocative, for in paying heed to Dorian Gray’s demise one is drawn into a reflection of their own spiritual condition. This work will appeal to audiences of all ages, not only ones interested in dance but also those who take interest in the current arts scene.