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Summer’s Wilde Time at Joslyn Castle!



 

Passion! Danger! Obsession! Dark Secrets!  Love! Scandal!

 

For the entire month of July, Joslyn Castle Trust (JCT) will immerse its guests in the literary and witty brilliance of Oscar Wilde. “A Wilde Time at the Castle” will explore not only the literary masterpieces but Wilde’s life, loves, inspirations, and influence.  No setting could be more perfect for the subject matter - Joslyn Castle’s elegance and intimacy fits the drama and aesthetic so present in the Wilde’s work.

 

At the end of the 19th Century, a peacock of uncommon brilliance appeared on the scene of London society.  His bold flamboyance made him a figure of mockery and fascination but his singular intelligence, wit, sophistication and creativity made him a cultural and literary legend. Oscar Wilde's sparkling conversation and brilliant writing won him a place in history as a beloved personality of late 19th Century London.  Yet at the height of his fame, the exposure of his passionate love affair with a young man of an aristocratic family plunged him to the depths of public shame, imprisonment and devastating forced labor.  His colorful, conflicted, dazzling and tragic story is the subject of Joslyn Castle's month-long July 2012 festival.

 

“A Wilde Time at the Castle” offers fourteen different exciting Wilde-related events throughout July including a world-premiere drama, dramatic readings, film screenings, a fashion show, an opera presentation and children's workshops.Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Joslyn Castle web site. Seating is limited.

 

 The Festival begins on Sunday, July 1 at 7pm with "Oscar Wilde: From Barbarism to Decadence". This is an exciting, world premiere of a drama by acclaimed playwright Max Sparber, starring Kirk Koczanowski as Oscar Wilde. This performance will be presented again on July 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 and 15.

 

Jill Anderson, an Omaha native, is the Oscar Wilde Festival’s Artistic Director. This is Anderson's second literary festival for Joslyn Castle.  Last year she produced "Romance at the Castle: The Brontes."  Her work locally and nationally has been in the realm of theatre and music as well as theatrical direction, cabaret, recording and teaching. 

 

Of her work with “A Wilde Time at the Castle,” Anderson says, “It has been a challenge to take on as gnarly and complicated a subject as Oscar Wilde. As he himself famously stated: ‘The truth is rarely pure and never simple,’ a phrase that could well be the motto for his life. He was not only a genius, but also a rock star, a sophisticate, a daredevil, a gay leader, an addict, a Cassanova, a devoted lover and a martyr.”

 

Anderson continues, “My desire and goal with this festival is to approach the subject from as many exciting angles as possible, no dusty academic approach, but an approach that engages the senses and emotions as well as the intellect to paint a vivid picture of the man and his times. I seek to better understand who he was, what motivated him, how he fit into his era, and what his lasting impact has been; to answer the question of how and why Wilde is an icon but even more importantly in what ways he was a flesh and blood human being.”

 

DESCRIPTIONS FOR ALL EVENTS BELOW

 

For more information about events or to purchase tickets, visit www.joslyncastle.com or call 402-595-2199 or email info@joslyncastle.com.   Discounted tickets are available for members of Joslyn Castle Trust.

 

About Joslyn Castle Trust

The mission of Joslyn Castle Trust is to protect and preserve the Joslyn Castle and its grounds as a major regional resource and as an integral part of Omaha’s history.

 

The Castle is open to the public on the first and third Sunday of each month. Tours are conducted at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. Private tour groups of 12 or more are by appointment. For more information regarding the Castle, please visit our website at www.joslyncastle.com

 

A Wilde Time at the Castle: The Witty World of Oscar Wilde

Event Schedule

Brief Descriptions

 

Following are brief descriptions of the events shown on the calendar on the other side. Full event descriptions are available online at www.joslyncastle.com, along with ticket information.

 

FESTIVAL EVENTS AT the JOSLYN CASTLE:

Joslyn Castle; 3902 Davenport Street; Omaha, Nebraska  68131    402-595-2199

 

"Oscar Wilde: From Barbarism to Decadence" A World Premiere

Exciting world premiere of a drama by acclaimed playwright Max Sparber, starring Kirk Koczanowski as Wilde.

July 1,3,5,6,11,12,13,15 7pm

 

Creation of a New Play with Max Sparber

Find out the mechanics of creating a new play from acclaimed playwright Max Sparber!

July 3, 9pm

 

Wilde Cinema Film Screenings

FREE screenings of Wilde-related films with concessions available for sale. Adults Only.

July 2,9,16 7pm

 

Poisonous Beauty: Desire, Art, and Other Gross Indecencies in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wilde's only novel comes to life with live performance and expert discussion of this masterful contribution to the horror genre.

July 10,24 7pm

 

The Forbidden World of Oscar Wilde

Wilde's hedonism and taste for danger led him into increasingly shadowy landscapes. This late night adventure gives you a

glimpse through the keyhole into the forbidden world of Oscar Wilde! (adults only)

July 13, 9:30pm

 

Tea Time at the Castle

Spend a Sunday afternoon enjoying an authentic formal British tea, with antique teapots, guest speakers, delightful

entertainment, scones and crumpets! (Concurrent with Wilde Child)

July 15,22 4pm

 

Wilde Child Children's Workshops

Children will explore Oscar Wilde's beloved Irish folklore and whimsical stories in playful, interactive workshops led by

storyteller Donis Arens. Age 6 and older. (Concurrent with Tea Time)

July 15,22 4pm

 

Oscar in Omaha: The American Tour, with Nebraska author, Timothy Schaffert

Oscar Wilde...in OMAHA? Author Timothy Schaffert has the story of Wilde's 1882 visit to Boyd's Opera House to lecture on

aesthetics to the rough-edged frontier folk of Nebraska.

July 17, 7pm

 

The Wilde Trials

Sex, celebrity and scandal! Oscar Wilde's three criminal trials for "gross indecency" are among the most famous trials of

history. Find out why at this engrossing evening of performance and panel discussion.

July 18, 19, 7pm

 

Wilde Fashion -Then and Now

A celebration of Wilde's flamboyant style and enduring influence on fashion through exhibits, presentations and a fabulous live fashion show! Dress in your own Victorian style, bring your camera, and mingle with the models!

July 21, 22 7pm

 

 

 

FESTIVAL EVENTS AT OTHER LOCATIONS:

 

Acting Wilde: A Period Style Exploration for The Performer

Scottish Rite Temple Main Stage, 20th & Douglas

Tamara Meneghini, Theatrical Period Styles instructor from the U. of Colorado, presents a three-hour acting workshop on the

physicality of the Victorian / Edwardian period style, focusing on Oscar Wilde text.

July 7, 11am-2pm

 

Wilde Women Art Exhibit at New BLK gallery

New BLK Gallery, 1213 Jones in the Old Market

Work by nine women artists - painting, sculpture, performance art, couture, even puppet theatre - inspired by the life and

literature of Oscar Wilde!

July 20 opening 8pm; exhibit runs through July 31

 

Wilde About the Opera: Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience

Opera Omaha Headquarters, 1850 Farnam, Downtown Omaha

Opera Omaha presents selections from Patience, Gilbert & Sullivan's biting satire of Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement

in their new downtown space.

July 23, 6pm

 

Wilde Rep Play-Reading Series at the Blue Barn

Blue Barn Theatre, 614 S. 11th St. in the Old Market

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and the Wilde-influenced West Moon Street by NY playwright Rob Urbinati

will be read by a company of gifted actors on alternating nights in late July.

"Earnest" July 26 & 28 @ Blue Barn 7pm; July 30 @ Joslyn Castle 7pm

"West Moon" July 27,29 @ Blue Barn 7pm

 

A Wilde Time at the Castle: The Witty World of Oscar Wilde

Event Schedule

 

Full Descriptions


Joslyn Castle; 3902 Davenport Street; Omaha, Nebraska  68131    402-595-2199


I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.” - Oscar Wilde
"Oscar Wilde:  From Barbarism to Decadence" World Premiere
The world premiere of a new drama by acclaimed playwright Max Sparber brings the vivid personality of Oscar Wilde to life!  Sparber's work has been described by the New York Times as “raw,” “gripping” and “artful.”  Variety magazine called his Minstrel Show “compelling” and an “...engrossing historical document.”  Actor Kirk Koczanowski portrays Oscar Wilde in this electrifying evening of theatre, exploring Wilde's invention of his own unforgettable persona.  Sparber takes the unusual approach of examining the younger Wilde as he formulates the elements that will ensure his ascent to towering celebrity as the toast of London and beyond. The play will be followed by an informative Question and Answer session. 
July 1,3,5,6,11,12,13,15,31  7pm
 

"A poet can survive anything but a misprint."  - Oscar Wilde
Creation of the World Premiere Drama with Max Sparber

What is the process of creating a new play?  How does the playwright synthesize existing research materials, literature, biographical tidbits and his own imagination into an illuminating story?  Find out the mechanics of making a play from acclaimed playwright Max Sparber as he discusses his unique process of generating a new work and opens up the doors for questions!
July 3, 9pm
 

I love acting; it is so much more real than life” - Oscar Wilde
Wilde Cinema Film Screenings
 

Joslyn Castle will show Oscar Wilde-related films free to the public!   (Adults only)
July 2 - The Picture of Dorian Gray

July 9 - Biography's Oscar Wilde:  Wit's End and Ken Russell's Salome's Last Dance

July 16 - Wilde starring Stephen Fry and Jude Law
Come buy some concessions and settle in for Wilde Cinema!
July 2,9,16  7pm

 

 

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.  Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself."- Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
Poisonous Beauty:  Desire, Art, and Other Gross Indecencies in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Responding to praise for his only novel, Wilde famously and succinctly complicates any simplistic equivalencies readers may be tempted to make between the tale's plot and his life, or himself and the characters: "I'm so glad you like that strange coloured book of mine: it contains much of me in it.  Basil Hallward is what I think I am; Lord Henry what the world thinks me; Dorian what I would like to be--in other ages perhaps."   The Picture of Dorian Gray is many things: a coded exploration of omnivorous desire, an extended philosophical treatise on the relation between art and ethics, and an exercise in classic Wildean witty repartée, all refracted through the lens of a Gothic novel.  Join us for an evening combining performance, analysis, and discussion of this masterful contribution to the horror genre as four actors give voice to the lush descriptions and biting social critique contained within Wilde's "strange coloured book."
July 10,24 7pm


“A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world, what difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset.”- Oscar Wilde
The Forbidden World of Oscar Wilde

 

Oscar Wilde had a nearly unquenchable hunger for sensation.  As far back as his Oxford days he told a friend, “I want to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world.”   With great abandon, he pursued beauty and stimulation of all kinds. Toward the end of his life he wrote, “There was no pleasure I did not experience.  I threw the pearl of my soul into a cup of wine."  As with many a hedonist, his wanderings took him to increasingly shadowy landscapes:  "I  deliberately went to the depths in my search for new sensations."  He imbibed the hallucinogenic potion, absinthe ("it has about it the seduction of strange sins,") indulged himself within the dangerous underworld of gay prostitution ("They were to me the brightest of gilded snakes. Their poison was part of their perfection") and associated with criminals and blackmailers (“It was like feasting with panthers...the danger was half the excitement.")  Many of the darker aspects of Wilde's literature are drawn from his fascination with all that was forbidden in his era.  At this one-time, late-night presentation, sample Oscar's favorite drink, absinthe (the infamous “Green Fairy), learn how blackmail became the favorite pastime of the 1890s London underworld, meet two of the city's most infamous cross-dressers, and hear a reading of the opium den scene from The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Don't miss your one chance to get a glimpse through the keyhole into the "Forbidden World of Oscar Wilde"!   Adult audiences only.                       
July 13, 9:30pm


“You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked most distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake! ... I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far!” - Oscar Wilde,  from "The Importance of Being Earnest"
Tea Time at the Castle
Two Sundays in July, the Castle will host formal British Teas and the historic rites of English tea time will be brought to Omaha, Nebraska! Crumpets, scones, an impressive exhibit of antique teapots, Wilde-style entertainment, special guest speakers and of course...TEA will all be a part of this charming celebration!   (Runs concurrently with "Wilde Child' workshops.) 
July 15,22 4pm

 

The best way to make children good is to make them happy” - Oscar Wilde
Wilde Child Children's Workshops

The father of two boys, Oscar Wilde wrote beautiful, haunting children's stories filled with whimsical imagery and profound morals.  Favorites include the “The Selfish Giant” and “The Rose and the Nightingale.”  In these workshops, led by storyteller Donis Arens, children will explore these wonderful stories through theatre games and storytelling activities.  For age 6 and older.  (This event runs concurrently with "Tea Time.")                                          
July 15,22  4pm

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”- Oscar Wilde
Oscar in Omaha: The American Tour
A presentation by Nebraska author, Timothy Schaffert

In black velvet knee breeches, lace cuffs, and silk hose, Oscar Wilde took the stage of Boyd’s Opera House of Omaha in 1882 to lecture on aesthetics.  “These Westerners,” writes Carl Uhlarik in the literary journal Prairie Schooner, “hardly over the pioneer stage, these merchants and soldiers, sod breakers, and track layers...were going to hear a young man from the Old World lecture to them on art and its relation to the decoration of the home.”  The daily newspapers made much of Wilde’s visit – celebrating him even as they mocked his dandified arrogance – and one thousand people attended the lecture. Novelist Timothy Schaffert discusses Wilde’s American tour, its impact on the cities of Omaha and Lincoln, and how this strange creature appalled not just the newspaper men with his radical view on art and artifice, but Willa Cather too!
July 17, 7pm

Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground” - Oscar Wilde, “De Profundis”
The Wilde Trials

Old Bailey, the main courthouse in London, had never presented a show quite like the three trials that captivated England and much of the literary world in the spring of 1895.  Celebrity, sex, surprising twists, blackmail, important issues of art and morality – the case was a pressure cooker threatening to boil over. Gay men were fleeing England in droves to protect themselves from mounting public hostility as Oscar Wilde sat contemplating whether to do the same. He chose to stand trial.  Wilde's passionate love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas was considered by late 19th Century British society to be a case of “gross indecency,” punishable by law.  When questioned in court for this offense, Oscar spoke eloquently of “the love that dare not speak its name.”  At his final trial, though faced with the possibility of a daunting punishment, he didn't shrink from enobling love between men.  His brilliant and profound statements are an enduring part of the famous court records, and though he was punished with the harshest sentence that he could have received short of execution, and ultimately died as a result of it, his courage and stoicism have made him a hero to the gay community.  What are the most inspiring moments of his trials? How did the hardships and deprivation he endured in prison spawn his richest and most soul-searching art?  How does 19th Century British law compare to modern day American law regarding the question of homosexuality?  A panel of insightful commentators, community leaders and specialists will take on these questions and many more. Actors will perform excerpts from Wilde's final two works, De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gaol.   Come and be a part of this scintillating in-depth exploration of  “The Trials” of Oscar Wilde!           
July 18, 19, 7pm

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” - Oscar Wilde
Wilde Fashion -Then and Now

Oscar Wilde is known as one of the great dandies of history.  His self-invented style made him the poster boy of the Aesthetic Movement.  His fashion innovations captured the fascination of his era as he turned his differences into strengths and boldly celebrated his individuality.  His style eccentricities helped him to forge a celebrity status nearly unequalled in his time.  This event is a tribute to Wilde's unabashed fabulousness and the fabulousness in all who love Victorian fashion.  On this special night, you will be treated to an exhibit of exotic antique fashion plates, colorful costume renderings for Wilde plays and authentic Victorian era garments and artifacts on loan from the Durham Museum collection, all on display in the elegant Castle Library...and that's all BEFORE the show starts!  First, Lindsay Pape, head of costuming at Creighton University will take you on a multi-media tour through the changing styles during the decades of Oscar's life.  Then she will describe his sartorial impact on his era and discuss the idea of the “dandy” in fashion.  Next, Laci Neal, designer and fashion historian, will bring us up to the modern day to show how late Victorian fashion has spanned the century to inspire the modern counter-cultural aesthetic movements of “Steam Punk,” the Japanese Gothic Lolitas, “Neo-Victorianism,” African dandies and modern corsetry.  The evening comes to a climax with an exciting live fashion show! Afterwards, enjoy refreshments as you mingle with the models in their finery.  Feel free to snap photos!  Come dressed in your own unique interpretation of Victorian fashion!  It's sure to be a “Wilde” ride so pop on your top hat, grab your parasol and sashay over to the castle in style!
July 21, 22  7pm   

 

Off- Site Events

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” - Oscar Wilde
Acting Wilde: A Period Style Exploration for The Performer
Scottish Rite Temple, 20th & Douglas

Tamara Meneghini, Theatrical Period Styles instructor from the University of Colorado at Boulder, will conduct a comprehensive three-hour acting workshop.  Participants will explore the physicality of the Victorian / Edwardian period style.  Ms. Meneghini will teach five basic topics: stance, use of space, salutations, codes of behavior, and use of properties.  The workshop will include a peek at Wilde’s world, including the plays, the music and dance, art, protocol, and other important elements that require and demonstrate style.  All participants are asked to bring a piece of text from a play by Oscar Wilde to utilize during the workshop. Finally! A perfect excuse to act Wilde!  Don't miss out!  The event takes place on the main stage of the Scottish Rite Temple at 20th and Douglas.   
July 7, 11am-2pm

 

 

 

 

If you want a red rose,” said the Tree, “you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart’s-blood.” - Oscar Wilde, from “The Rose and the Nightingale"
Wilde About the Opera:  Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience
Opera Omaha Headquarters, 1850 Farnam in Downtown Omaha

Join a cast of distinguished singers at Opera Omaha for an evening of poetry and song from one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most irresistibly delicious operas, Patience.  Written as a satire of the aesthetic movement in England, the opera is packed with lush melodies, brilliant characters, and charming comedy that has entranced audiences for more than a century.  The literary persona of Oscar Wilde looms large over the story of Patience, with its stinging satire of late nineteenth-century aesthetic poets and their rapturous devotees.  If you love Gilbert and Sullivan, you will not want to miss the chance to see selections from this opera come to life before your eyes, as we delve into the creation and history of a lasting musical monument to Oscar Wilde and his times.  Event is held at Opera Omaha headquarters, 1850 Farnam, Omaha.                                   
July 23, 6pm


It is through art and art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.” - Oscar Wilde
Wilde Women Art Exhibit at New BLK gallery
1213 Jones in the Old Market
                                                                                            

Indulge in an evening of art, absinthe, and performance honoring the wit and whimsy of Oscar Wilde.  Omaha's edgiest gallery, New BLK, in collaboration with the Wilde Festival  presents a multi-media exhibition inspired by the flamboyant life and works of the legendary Oscar Wilde.  Join us for a dynamic evening of art, fashion, and puppet theatre while enjoying craft cocktails from the absinthe bar. The show will feature nine women artists in genres from painting, illustration, photography, and sculpture to performance art and couture. 
July 20 opening 8pm; exhibit runs through July 31

 

"Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?" - Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest"
Wilde Rep Play-Reading Series at the Blue Barn
Blue Barn Theatre, 614 S. 11th St. in the Old Market

The Wilde Festival in collaboration with Omaha's much acclaimed Blue Barn Theatre will present readings of Wilde's most iconic play, The Importance of Being Earnest and of a play by New York playwright, Rob Urbinati, West Moon Street inspired by Wilde's novella, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime.  The plays will be read on alternating nights in late July.  Through this series, a company of veteran actors, led by director Hughston Walkinshaw, will demonstrate the effervescent wit that made Wilde a legend!   All performances at the Blue Barn EXCEPT July 30, when it is at Joslyn Castle.
"Earnest" July 26 & 28 @ Blue Barn 7pm;  July 30 @ Joslyn Castle  7pm
"West Moon" July 27,29 @ Blue Barn 7pm

 

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