Kip Williams’ dazzling reimagining of The Picture of Dorian Gray begins on a virtually empty stage. Eryn Jean Norvill appears on a large screen and starts narrating Oscar Wilde’s famous 1890 novel. Basil Hallward is chatting with his friend Lord Henry Wotton about the portrait he is painting of the young, excessively good-looking Dorian Gray. As Norvill voices Lord Henry’s dialogue she is given a cigarette, and then a paintbrush when she voices Basil. The audience chuckles.
As our eyes shift to the back of the stage behind the screen, we can see Norvill surrounded by a camera crew; what we are watching on screen is live video.
Eryn Jean Norvill and camera crew. Photograph © Daniel Boud
When Dorian arrives and goes into the garden, the flesh and blood Norvill – now dressed as Dorian – pushes her face into a large vase of flowers. The humorous live image duly appears on the screen behind her. And then suddenly Lord Henry is on screen with Dorian. It’s Norvill...