Old Dominion University’s The Starving Artists, in partnership with director Ricardo Melendez, bring Monarchs and Hampton Roads residents an original production titled “My Dorian” starting Nov. 7.
A Melendez original, the play was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
The Starving Artists, a student art and theatre organization resurrected after a 5-year hiatus, is coming back strong this year with more than fifty members.
“My Dorian” focuses on themes of beauty from the book. The main character, Dorian Gray, is a narcissistic and self-indulgent young man who’s appearance doesn’t change as he ages.The progressive decay of his self-portrait done by his friend Basil Hallward is the only physical evidence of his aging.
“The adaptation focuses more on the concepts of aestheticism and beauty in the book rather than the homoerotic subtext or the super natural aspects. It focuses specifically on the ideas of beauty… focusing on the fact that beauty is ultimately a weakness to all of us whether you’re gay or straight,” said Connor Norton, president of The Starving Artists.
In working with Melendez, Norton feels that he has learned valuable lessons that he hopes will translate to the audience.
“The biggest thing that Ricardo has done with us is show us how to be passionate about the text,” Norton said. “It [‘My Dorian’] critically analyzes the themes of aestheticism and beauty and the themes from ‘A Picture of Dorian Grey.’ It helps you analyze Victorian text in a way that’s fun.”
“My Dorian” is also aimed at fundraising for the ODU Gay Cultural Endowment Campaign.
The campaign is an effort that began five years ago by ODU faculty and staff to build a program of study specifically on gender identity and queer theory.
“It allows your funds to go back to two important causes: to produce and help foster student creativity as well as help foster and support an endowment campaign at ODU that is dedicated to LGBTQ causes that you should be a part of,” Norton said.
“My Dorian” will be running at the Goode Theater on Nov. 7, 8 and 9. Tickets are on sale at the theater, online at oduartstix.com or by calling 757-683-3438. Student tickets are $10 and general admission is $15.
By Adrienne Mayfield
Assistant Arts& Entertainment Editor