My first California production, back in 1998…I wrote it as an homage to Oscar Wilde’s legendary, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
The original tale was about a young, rich man who muses while having his portrait painted, “I wish I could stay young, handsome, and untainted forever. “ Somehow his wish alters the canvas, and the image starts to display all of the young man’s debauchery, of himself and others, while leaving the subject of the painting physically unchanged for nearly a century… When he can work up the nerve, Dorian climbs the stairs to his attic, where the painting is kept. And each time he does he is horrified by the increasingly hideous image staring back. Eventually he can take the ”self exploration” no more, and using a knife he slashes the canvas…. A few days later, old, shriveled Dorian Gray is found with a knife in his chest, lying at the foot of the untarnished oil rendering …of a handsome young man.
My twist on the premise was basically -- a young, promising painter ‘TAYLOR GREY’ puts on his first New York exhibition. When unknowingly one of his original paintings, done as a boy, shows up in the gallery. It is a life-size rendering of Christ on the cross.
During the course of the opening night exhibition, every abusive thing the painter does, to himself and to others, seem to manifest on the canvas. And when the images become too much, he is forced to remember a lesson from his childhood.
“ He took upon Himself the iniquities of us all…”
After all these years, I’ve learned three things re-watching this early production; ….For everything there is a beginning…. Chose your collaborators with care, and God truly DID invent Time so ideas, and talent… have the chance to… GROW.