To be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no idea what this play is about.

It is called “Driving Wilde” but the only relation it has to Oscar Wilde is that it is playwright Jacqueline Wright’s tedious version of Wilde’s classic “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and the actor who plays the lead is actually called Dorian. And Dorian (Michael Kodi Farrow) at one point expresses the wish, as Wilde’s Dorian did, that he could remain young and beautiful as his portrait becomes old and ugly.

Farrow, who actually is young and beautiful, is represented as a swanning gay man who spends all his time posing seductively and fluttering around orgasmically. And as his personality grows more and more evil, he develops the habit of addressing his conquests lavishly and lovingly one moment and turning vicious and hateful in the next, berating them and insulting them vociferously.

Basil, (Carl J. Johnson) the artist who paints his portrait, is the first to fall in love with him. Johnson also plays a waitress and the mother of a woman named Moon. Moon (Raven Moran) also plays a woman named Rose and a nurse who attends to Dorian when he’s in the hospital in a coma.

Henry (David Wilcox) is a nasty friend of Basil’s who takes great pleasure in teasing Dorian sexually. Wilcox also plays a childhood friend of Dorian’s as well as a female character identified as Hag.

Stephen Simon is an offstage voice named Jeffrey who apparently is Dorian’s man-servant, and he also makes a brief appearance as Oscar Wilde—an event that I missed completely.

Rounding out this improbable group is Michael Sturgis, identified only as Young Man, who shows up periodically to dance spasmodically on the large wooden blocks that serve as the totality of the set design.

As for the plot, there is a lot of talk about love and beauty and Dorian’s “sainted mother.” Also various sexual couplings, nudity, and, in the end, several of the men masturbating on stage.

I don’t think it’s a play you’d want to take your kids to.

“Driving Wilde” was directed by Bart DeLorenzo. It will be presented Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through September 21 at Theatre of NOTE, 1517 North Cahuenga Blvd. (located just north of Sunset) in Hollywood. For reservations, contact www.theatreofnote.com.

 

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