Written by Joelle Poole for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC
Photos: Courtesy of Ensemble of the Romantic Century (ERC)
3.5 out of 5 stars
ENSEMBLE OF THE ROMANTIC CENTURY: THE TRIAL OF OSCAR WILDE AT SYMPHONY SPACE
NEW YORK, NY (June 26, 2014) On June 20th, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in Symphony Space, the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC) presented The Trial of Oscar Wilde, an engagingly written, slightly comedic, theatrical concert. This piece was written by James Melo, and directed by Donald T. Sanders. The artistic directors are Eve Wolf and Max Barros. Filled with talented musicians and actors, the setting of this production included just enough detail to convey a scene but it’s simplicity called upon the use of the adult imagination to complete the picture. It was all in all pleasurable to observe.
Essential assets in this production are the acting, comedic timing, and musicians. As Oscar Wilde, a witty, middle-aged, author-playwright under persecution, Michael Halling provides eloquent charm, and a level of assured skill that convincingly embodies the character. His expression of emotion, intonation, and purposeful movement keep you engaged and draw you into each scene in an authentic way.
The placement and comedic timing of Oscar Wilde’s quotes and come backs are practically perfect. This is not the kind if production meant to be enjoyed silently. There are many points where the audience erupts into laughter. Regardless of being familiar with Wilde’s works or not, you will love him for his quick wit and vulnerability by the end of the first scene.
Much the production’s success is also owed to the level of talent displayed by all of the musicians in this theatrical concert. The pianist Daria Rabotkina, is extremely gifted and wildly expressive. The lead violinist, Susie Park, effectively personifies the emotions on stage through her performance. Her timing and control of tempo exhibit a great deal of discipline and skill. The Amphion String Quartet is just as entertaining to your eyes as they are to your ears. Their ability to move and play completely in sync is truly something to admire.
My only criticism is that some of the musical selections were a bit long, and the dialogue a bit shorter than expected. Having said this, The Trial of Oscar Wilde is well worth the price of admission. It will take you on a controversial journey, full of music, dotted with laughter, carried by emotion.
For more information about ERC’s, visit: romanticcentury.org