|Poster for Dorian's Descent|
|The picture and Dorian from the movie adaptation|
|The Devil makes a deal|
|Sibyl Vane's forgotten lyrics|
"Dorian, Dorian," she cried, "before I knew you, acting was the one reality of my life. It was only in the theatre that I lived. I thought that it was all true. I was Rosalind one night and Portia the other. The joy of Beatrice was my joy, and the sorrows of Cordelia were mine also. I believed in everything. The common people who acted with me seemed to me to be godlike. The painted scenes were my world. I knew nothing but shadows, and I thought them real. You came -- oh, my beautiful love! -- and you freed my soul from prison. You taught me what reality really is. To-night, for the first time in my life, I saw through the hollowness, the sham, the silliness of the empty pageant in which I had always played. To-night, for the first time, I became conscious that the Romeo was hideous, and old, and painted, that the moonlight in the orchard was false, that the scenery was vulgar, and that the words I had to speak were unreal, were not my words, were not what I wanted to say. You had brought me something higher, something of which all art is but a reflection. You had made me understand what love really is. My love! My love! Prince Charming! Prince of life! I have grown sick of shadows. You are more to me than all art can ever be. What have I to do with the puppets of a play?"
Sibyl has so greatly fallen for Dorian that she cannot pretend to love as she once did. This confession is made all the more beautiful when she takes her life after Dorian rejects her love. In the play version, Sibyl is a singer whose voices makes Dorian fall in love. Substituting singing for acting makes sense in the musical, but it is the other change that ruins it for me. Instead of falling out of love, causing Sibyl to ruin her craft, the Devil character makes Sibyl forget her lines before a show. The audience loses this beautiful insight into Sibyl's innocence and thus undermines her death as the tipping point in Dorian's sanity. This change further supports my comments below about Dorian's actions being orchestrated and not of his own choice.
|Retrieved from this site|
Although this is not the shining review that I'm sure the fledgling play is hoping for, I hope that they take to heart the immortal words of Lord Henry: "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." Certainly this adaptation has given me and I hope any readers some food for thought about how narratives are updated, adapted, and changed in the pursuit of artistic creativity and to teach us about issues that plague society.