Q & A with Peter Gilchrist

Peter Gilchrist‘s one-man show, The Divine Oscar, focuses on the life and works of Oscar Wilde. The show will be touring to the National Arts Festival this year in Grahamstown and has been in development for over five years. For literary and theatre enthusiasts this show is definitely a must-see.

Q1: What drew you to writing a show about Oscar Wilde?

I went to school and uni in Dublin and lived within 20km of his old school, Portora Royal School, where I did three performances. He was reinstated there while I was at Trinity College Dublin. Five years ago I decided to work on a one-man dinner show. I have become more and more fascinated by Oscar the more I read and researched. Such a complex, sad and incredibly witty man!

Q2: How did you prepare for the role?

The more I wrote the more immersed I became. I now feel the change happening in the dressing room!

Q3: What is the best part of the Arts Festival for you?

I so enjoyed the Edinburgh Festival as a visitor but longed to be on the inside, a real part of the event.

Q4: Why should people watch your show?

As Peter Steyne says, “I have twice had the privilege of enjoying Peter Gilchrist’s Oscar Wilde presentation, which he does with such empathy for both the humour and the poignancy of his writings and plays.” That seems to say it all.

Q5: Did you also direct the show? How did you find that experience?

No, the show was directed by the vastly experienced Helen Robinson. She once said during a dodgy rehearsal, “You know, what you wrote is so much better than what you’re saying!”

Other critics have also praised the show for it’s witty script, which Peter penned himself, and the poignant moments. Robert Permeul of the Kelvin Grove Club calls it “wonderful, creative” and “like a breath of fresh air”, while Samantha Gray, a film director had this to say: “A sensitive, gentle chronicle of Oscar Wilde’s private life. Peter is mesmerising in demanding, complex roles.”

If you are going to Grahamstown this season, don’t miss this show. The show details are as follows:

Venue: St Andrew’s Studio 1

Dates: 2 July at 20h00, 3 July at 12h00, 4 July at 16h00, 5 July at 20h00

Tickets: R60 Students, Pensioners R54; Block bookings R51

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