Sarah and Oscar

Sarah and Oscar

Sarah and Oscar
Windwhistle Theatre
Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, Pink Venue

There’s an endless fascination with Oscar Wilde in the theatre community, but Sarah Bernhardt gets short shrift these days. I suspect that’s because Wilde left stacks of scripts and novels and wonderful sound bites while Bernhardt only left us memories of her performances. The two were contemporaries and Wilde Wrote “Salome” for her, it was surrounded by controversy and banned, which helped sales enormously when it was eventually produced. Wilde went to jail, and Bernhard went to America, she died wealthy and he a poor and broken man. In this spare two person production we hear their overlapping stories, Wilde is portrayed with a rather clipped accent and a cadaverous face, Bernhardt with a studied, precise French accent that enunciates each syllables slowly and correctly with a Gallic precision. These are nearly two separate stories, contemporaneous but not closely intertwined. You probably know the high points of Wilds life but Bernhardt’s is equally as fascinating; she went from courtesan to stage with success and aplomb in an era when “actress” often meant something much coarser. Wilde is more confessional and Bernhardt more reserved, but both are relics of a century past but they would fit on the cover of any tabloid today.

This production is part of the 2014 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Information on tickets and show times may be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

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