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Friday, Sept. 10, 2004

OF NOTE

Going Wilde for 'Dorian Gray'

Though destined to die quite young, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) to this day remains an unsurpassed icon of aestheticism and intellectual wit, whose life stands as an art form in itself. In his 1891 masterpiece, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," Wilde explores social class, vanity, narcissism and cruel mortality in a way that few perhaps, have ever been more qualified to do.

Similarly few in Japan may be more qualified to stage "Dorian Gray" than Studio Life, an all-male theater company founded in 1985, whose lineup of handsome and foppish young idols is renowned for productions as diverse as "Dracula," "Death in Venice" and, more famously, its 1996 production of the girls comic "The Heart of Thomas," by Moto Hagi.

Now, in Shinjuku, Studio Life do Wilde proud with a unique staging that is faithful in both form and content to the original, and which, as the final silky white curtain falls, unfailingly brings its young, almost all-female audience to some kind of collective theatrical climax. (Nobuko Tanaka)

"Picture of Dorian Gray" by Studio Life runs till Sept. 15 at the Kinokuniya Southern Theatre, a 5-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station. It will then run Sept. 18-20 at Theatre Drama City in Osaka. All tickets 5,250 yen. For more details, call Studio Life at (03) 3319-5645 or visit www.studio-life.com


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