|White Horse goes Gray|
Who is Dorian Gray?
Art is what you bring to it. This rule remains the same for artists and spectators alike. There is not a song, a book, a painting or a play that was made to be art and then to be locked away. Why not? Because it’s rarely the artist giving said classification but the spectator. Art always needs people of such kind. The lack of such is a risk every creator, every interpreter has to take. If you knew that everything you’d lay your hand on would instantly become a masterpiece, the sense of hunt for appreciation and a forward momentum would diminish in all cases. Taking risks is part of the fun and bringing your production of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” to a small town in Germany certainly isn’t the smallest risk you could choose to take.
The 11th and 12th grades of the Hermann Pistor secondary school in Sonneberg had the opportunity to witness the risk, and what a hell of a ride it was! Promoting the above play as a ‘modern Faust’ might generally not be the most effective technique to heighten enthusiasm amongst the students but promotion is promotion, not the thing itself. With every play there might be scepticism just for the reason of it being a play, not a concert or a film, but such also has to be foreseen. You can foresee many things as a theatre group, you can even see more than there is, but the ultimate impression made of some hundred seventeen and eighteen year olds isn’t something possible of fully anticipating. One has to play and not try with every move, every spoken word to make the crowd all-in-all comfortable for the next hour and a half. Passivity isn’t something you long for as a performer.
I rarely experienced a crowd that silent and at times simply stunned of that age during a theatre performance. Not a line, a look, an expression was unmanageable to perceive or being distracted from. Props to the students as well as William Keetch, Kaira Rodgers, Shane Robert Saul and Kirsty Geddes of White Horse Theatre! It is the hardest of tasks to make a classic piece feel modern – status differences, social conventions and language – I loved the accents – are some of the most evolving aspects in society. Therefore, society looks different on the past and its art. To engage with the audience, to make them want to understand the message of a play, it can’t be a sequel to a 130 year old book – but a remake, an innovative one! Stiffness abstract, pretentiousness uninviting and the unwillingness to change what is given to you as material isn’t interesting to a young audience. White Horse Theatre fell into none of these lethal pits but jumped over them and filled them with the soil of sparking creativity. From minimalistic props used in the most unbelievable of ways to a scarce cast changing its parts like socks, these four actors – all equal in skill and prominence – made everyone remember why it’s such a delight to see the White Horse Theatre in Sonneberg.
So, who is Dorian Gray then? There might be just some people more knowing an answer to this question than before.
Thanks for the stunning performance!
Comment by Jacob Heine