About the performance
Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol expresses pristine emotions and thoughts about the execution of a fellow prisoner – Wilde thinks about the universality of guilt and moral weakness, about similarity between a poet, a convicted murderer and mankind in general (»each man kills the thing he loves«), about inhumanity of the prison system – and this is why the ballad speaks to any era of our civilisation build on laws, rules, orders that regulate the human “chaos”.
Stage version of the recital will be a combination of two forms: a musical part and a wording part. Ballad as a literary form is the cohesive thread, a story that is also the main dramaturgical concept of the performance. Musical parts, chant songs from different eras, are the associative flow that will create a world, parallel to the ballad, with various intermezzos. If the ballad represents the prison world, the state of being closed up, the stuffiness, the un-freedom, the death, the chants sung are its cabaret antipode of the freedom, the longing, the utopia, and the decadence. In a way, these are two worlds that exist on their own and meet only on the edges. These are two solo performances that add to each other, and they are connected with a third element that is the contrabass. And then there’s also a fourth element represented in the visual art images from the era of symbolism and decadence that are projected on a black wall in the back of the stage. They are barely noticeable, blurred, intangible and uncatchable, as involuntary contents form a certain era that are drowning and degenerating in a black magma of an unconscious memory that is disappearing in time.