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Der einzige Roman von Oscar Wilde erzählt die Geschichte eines jungen Mannes von geradezu unwirklicher Schönheit als düsteres Märchen über Eigenliebe, Moral und menschlichen Zerfall. Themen, die möglicherweise heute noch aktueller sind als zu Wildes Zeit. Unter der glänzenden Oberfläche der Gesellschaft, in der die Protagonisten sich bewegen, liegt ein Abgrund von Düsternis, die sich im Portrait des jungen Mannes spiegelt. Es ist eine Welt zwischen Traum und Albtraum.
Dorian Gray steht dem Künstler Basil Hallward für sein Portrait Modell und trifft in dessen Atelier auf Lady Henry Wotton, die in Dorians Reinheit eine ideale Grundlage für ihr „Experiment der Beeinflussung“ sieht. Henrys Einfluss und Basils Portrait lassen Dorian seine eigene Schönheit und ihre Vergänglichkeit erkennen. Sein Wunsch, sein Bildnis möge statt seiner selbst altern, erfüllt sich. Doch durch dieses anscheinend konsequenzfreie Leben gleitet Dorian in eine Welt voller Versuchungen ab, aus der er nicht hinaus findet. Die vier Spieler begleiten den Zuschauer durch eine Erkundung menschlichen Verhaltens. Wie begegnen wir dem Älterwerden? Wie weit würden wir für ewige Schönheit gehen und welche Vorteile genießen wir eventuell durch Schönheit? Welche Moralvorstellungen stehen zwischen uns und unseren Wünschen? Stehen uns unsere Sünden ins Gesicht geschrieben?

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English version

In his only novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, Oscar Wilde writes about a thrillingly handsome young man, Dorian Gray, who is the subject and model of a full-length oil painting by Basil Hallward. The story starts with Basil painting this portrait. As Basil is painting, Lord Henry Wotton (in the bremer shakespeare company Production played by Petra-Janina Schultz, thus changed to Lady Henry Wotton) watches. Lady Wotton most enthusiastically tells the model about her hedonistic worldview. She is convinced that pleasure and happiness is the main goal of life, regardless of the consequences. Riveted by this philosophy and by the beauty of his own image in the painting, Dorian wishes the painting would age instead of him. Under the influence of Lady Henry, he fully explores a life of extravagant sensuality. Unfortunately for Sibyl Vane, an actress who falls madly in love with Dorian, his new world-view results in her untimely death. Dorian lives with unashamed selfishness, but he does not reap the consequences of his flippant attitude towards morality. Just as he hopes, the depravity of his sin is seen in the full-length oil panting, not in him. But can he actually live his life like this?
Oscar Wilde was involved in a popular philosophy of the time called aestheticism (in which art was praised for intensity and beauty rather than social-political themes). Oscar Wilde is known to have said that the three characters in Dorian Gray are mirrors of himself: “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks of me: Dorian is what I would like to be…”

How good does my German need to be to enjoy this show?
On a scale from 1-5, with 1=beginning German speaker and 5=like a native speaker.

If you have read the novel already, your German does not need to be very good (2 or above) to enjoy the show; you can relax and allow your imagination help you follow the text. If you are not familiar with the story, Wikipedia has a plot summary you can read before attending the show, but your German needs to be 4 or above to follow the dialog. It quips along at a fast pace.

If you are curious to read more about his fascinating life, here is a comparison of the 5 leading biographies of Oscar Wilde.

English text and German comprehension rating by Linnea George-Kupfer.