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Feasting with Panthers (Broadway Theatre Archive)
Feasting with Panthers
Broadway Theatre Archive
Actors: Robert Black, Robert J. Colonna, Timothy Crowe, William Damkoehler, James Eichelberger
Directors: Adrian Hall, Rick Hauser
Genres: Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2003     1hr 29min

A surrealistic mixture of reality and imagination, Feasting with Panthers takes place in the life, mind, memory, and vision of Oscar Wilde while imprisoned in England?s Reading Gaol during the late Victorian Era. Through f...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Black, Robert J. Colonna, Timothy Crowe, William Damkoehler, James Eichelberger
Directors: Adrian Hall, Rick Hauser
Creators: Adrian Hall, David S. Howe, Jac Venza, Ken Campbell, Richard Cumming
Genres: Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television, Broadway Theatre Archive
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/15/2003
Original Release Date: 03/27/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 03/27/1974
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"Feasting with panthers...danger was half of the excitement.
Mary Whipple | New England | 12/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Written by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming, this 1974 play, directed by Rick Hauser and author Adrian Hall takes full advantage of its commission as a TV production, achieving its power in ways not even possible on the stage. Produced for WNET Theater in America, the directors make full use of the close-up and subtle gesture, illuminating the agonies of Oscar Wilde during his two-year imprisonment in Reading Gaol. Wilde (Richard Kneeland) has finally been convicted after three trials for "gross indecency," or as it was also called, "the love that dared not speak its name." With Jobeth Williams as his heart-broken wife, the play ranges through Wilde's memories, as fragments of remembered events, bits of the trials, thoughts of his wife and children, musings about his writing, and his obsession with "Bosie" Douglas, son of the Marquis of Queensbury, unfold.

Powerful scenes reflect the mind of the prisoner--his hysteria at being put into solitary because of his fear of the dark, his stunned disbelief that his wife and children have changed their names and moved, his frustration over having no writing implements to give form to his thoughts, his tormented recollections of scenes from his books. With no linear story line to convey a narrative, the authors and director use other bridges between scenes. Silent prisoners wear masks, their movements choreographed to give the rhythm of their shuffling feet a kind of drumbeat that waxes and wanes. Prisoners go up and down a spiral staircase into and out of the light, with the lock step movements of prisoners everywhere. Music connects some scenes, a prisoners' chorus and a folk song summarizing the woes of the downtrodden, written by co-author Richard Cumming.

"There is a time when a man must choose between living his own life, full, totally, completely," or, Wilde ultimately declares, "dragging out some meaningless, false, shallow existence that society with all its hypocrisies demands." Though his life and reputation are in tatters as a result of this trial, his supporters believe that "a whole society has been changed because of you." As one friend remarks, "Your pen can bring the world to its knees." A stunning glimpse into the mind of this controversial writer who was imprisoned for daring to challenge Victorian hypocrisy, this lively and thoughtful production uses impressionistic techniques to convey the agony of Wilde's imprisonment and its effects on the age. Mary Whipple
Guy De Federicis | east of here | 01/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Famed writer Oscar Wilde languishes in prison on a sodomy conviction while a prisoner chorus line struts by, a hard-nosed warden appears in outrageous drag, scenes from his works reveal themselves in a psychedelic hue, mother reminisces, and his oppressed wife visits with increasingly depressing news, all while the day to day grind of prison labors on. This play, written by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming, part of the Broadway Theatre Archive series, and culled from PBS's "Theatre In America" is an extraordinary mess of straight drama and surreal imaginings that collectively present a coherent study of the great writer's time in Reading Gaol prison. Richard Kneeland, as Wilde, perfectly channels the writer's fears and bewilderment of society's understanding of acceptable behavior and his own eccentric convictions. And he's constantly funny, mouthing out Wilde witticisms like a second language: "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as misfortunate; to lose both looks like carelessness.""