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Wild, Wild Oscar Wilde: The Scandalous Genius of 1890's Comedy

Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, became one of the most popular (and raciest) playwrights in London in the 1890s. Aestheticism was in vogue at the time, enough so that Gilbert and Sullivan impresario, Richard D’Oyly Carte, invited Wilde to make a lecture tour of America, introducing this most charming London aesthete to the American public. The four-month tour lasted nearly a year; America was wild about Wilde! The writer teased audiences with the claim that “life imitates art rather than the other way round. His point was a serious one: “We notice London fogs,” he argued, “because art and literature have taught us to do so.” At every public appearance — and at several private ones — Wilde presented himself as the impeccably dressed and mannered dandy figure whose life was a work of art, despite the fact that he and his aestheticism were both mercilessly caricatured and criticized in the press. Our focus shall be on the year 1895 — the year of his greatest theater fame and success. The course will spotlight his first success, Lady Windermere’s Fan, followed by The Importance of Being Earnest, and An Ideal Husband. Class Limit: 20


Instructor Joseph Coté has been an amateur and professional actor for 40 years creating more than 30 leading or featured roles in plays by such playwrights as Shakespeare, Wilde, Sheridan, O’Neill, Chekhov, Albee, Brecht, and Tennessee Williams. His actor training has included work with mentor John Broome, the late esteemed director at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also studied with Robert Brustein at Boston’s American Repertory Theater and Jerome Kilty at San Diego’s Old Globe.  Joseph has performed with Shakespeare Festivals in Indiana, Massachusetts, Idaho, Colorado, and California. In 1984, his solo portrayal of 1944 Swedish diplomat to Budapest, Raoul Wallenberg, who saved more than 100,000 Jews, toured Hungary and Poland including performances at Auschwitz. Since 2019, Joseph has led more than 40 popular Shakespeare “exploration” courses and single master classes with the Coastal and Midcoast Senior Colleges, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, with an emphasis on the journey of a single character through a single play.




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Friday, April 5, 2024, 10:00 AM until Friday, May 10, 2024, 12:00 PM
on Zoom - Zoom link will be sent by email close to the start of the first class

Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
Joseph W Cote
Spring 2024
Registration is closed - Event is full
Payment In Full In Advance Only
You must be an active CSC member to register for this course.
Cancellation Policy:
A member may cancel a course registration up to 3 days prior to the start of class and will receive a course credit that can be used for a future registration. No refunds will be given.
Available Slots: