Oscar Wilde Play Banned
By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
August / September 2015
Plans to stage a 1997 play based on Oscar Wilde: “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” were halted after the Russian government barred the company from accepting any foreign funds for “artistic purposes” according to The New York Times. The much lauded New Drama theater in Moscow was attempting to put on Moises Kaufman’s play with funding from the U.S government.
The Russian government did not provide any comments, but Kaufman believes its postponement has to do with the themes of homosexuality that permeate the play. Russia has been no friend of gay rights and its curious move to censor the play raises eyebrows. Kaufman reiterates, “the opportunity to re-enact the Oscar Wilde trials in Moscow at this time would have been incredibly relevant, and also would have led to the kind of dialogue that is so sorely needed there at this time.” The U.S State department voiced its disappointment with the decision but spokesman Mark Toner did say it would “continue to promote U.S.-Russian cultural exchange.” Regardless, Wilde probably would have loved the idea that his life could still strike up controversy, even 100 years after his death. ♦