In his New York debut, Emerson delivers a characterization of nuance and power, commanding attention from his audience with a self-assurance that Wilde himself would envy. The prosecution and defense are seated at two tables on either side of the stage, while four Narrators are positioned at a long table in front, reading and enacting any number of eyewitness characters, from newspaper writers and male prostitutes to George Bernard Shaw and Queen Victoria. Although the play is loosely structured as the three trials, other scenes and events from various published accounts, both historical and modern are interspersed. With an outraged public and self-righteous press calling for blood, Wilde is charged with gross indecency, the second trial presented ending in a hung jury and the third in a guilty verdict. The tawdry courtroom spectacle stoops so low as to include a string of young hustlers cleverly presented onstage in period underwear testifying against their former patron.
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Homosexuality remained a crime in England until During this era, homosexuality was often treated as a mental illness, homosexual relations had not yet been decriminalized in many places, and openly gay people were barred from federal jobs. Bars and restaurants could lose their license for serving to LGBTQ patrons, limiting the public spaces in which gay people could meet and socialize freely.
Onlookers retaliated, and rioting took place outside the bar on and off for five days. The riots themselves faded away, but their legacy was powerful. Members of the LGBTQ community launched a new wave of activism that challenged the constitutionality of anti-gay and anti-transgender laws through the court system.
Leaders of the movement connected with other civil rights movements and built new organizations to support those who had been marginalized and to advocate for equal rights. The Stonewall Uprising continues to serve as a symbol of the power of working together for civil rights even today. The year will represent the 50th anniversary of this event and its call to activism. Here in the Orlando community, we know how important it is to keep this spirit alive.
This program is recommended for mature audiences only. For reservations call , or online at seminolestate.
There will be a talk-back after the production on Sunday Feb. Kathryn Steinhaus, Professor of Humanities. For more information about the Center, including calendars of all upcoming cultural events at Seminole State, visit seminolestate.
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde takes the stage
He was a man who chose to live his life with passion. And in trying to define his own world in his own terms, he came up against a society that found him truly subversive. A nine-man ensemble faces the audience in two rows For the most part, the case speaks directly to the audience Gross Indecency manages to turn relatively familiar material--the trials and imprisonment of Wilde on charges of sodomy and pederasty--into a damning indictment of the way that government tries to regulate our private lives
South Australia[ edit ] In Australia , a gross indecency statute exists in South Australia , with gross indecency requiring the involvement of a minor a person under 16 years old. A first-time offense is a three-year felony, and any subsequent offense is a five-year felony. LGBT rights activists are trying to repeal the law. Michigan has three types of gross indecency crimes exist, all of which are five-year felonies: Gross indecency between male persons  Gross indecency between female persons  Gross indecency between male and female persons  Gross indecency between male persons was codified first, and the other two were made into laws later. Historically, the definition of gross indecency was unclear, and courts relied on nebulous notions such as the "common sense of society". The vagueness of the term allowed for adults who engaged in consensual sex with no monetary transactions in the privacy of their own homes to be charged with the crime, and men who had sex with men were particularly vulnerable to prosecution. Over time, the definition increasingly narrowed through Michigan Supreme Court decisions, and a decision officially narrowed it to sex acts that occurred in a public place or that involved a minor, the application of force, or a monetary transaction.