Although it’s not the most conventional of choices for a theatre production at Halloween, there’s no doubting the excitement surrounding Southampton University Theatre Group’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel which deals with issues of decadence, hedonism and the question of youth. And there is probably no one more excited for the show than a 3rd Year English Literature student, as well as Production Director Olivia Krauze. I sat down with her for a brief chat about her views on the show, what to expect from Dorian Gray and what her future plans might be.
So firstly, why Dorian Gray? And for that matter, why choose Oscar Wilde?
“I’ve loved Dorian Gray for ever. It’s one of my favourite novels. Why? I’m always so fascinated by the characters, the story, everything about it just seems so compelling. When you consider that it [Dorian Gray] is Wilde’s only novel as well, you have to wonder why there was no real variance- why didn’t he go back into the genre again?”
It’s clear you are very passionate about your Halloween production. How are you looking to adapt it- playing on the Gothic elements a lot?
“I’m very excited. We’ve done something unique to the play, added physical theatre and a real immersive atmosphere. Without wanting to spoil too much, we really want the audience to be part of it. The play effectively starts when you first walk into The Annex.”
Seeing as you’ve done both, you probably have an opinion on it by now. What’s the real difference, the biggest difference between acting and directing?
“Directing is a lot more work! I didn’t really anticipate how much more it would be. You are fully in charge, I have a cast of twelve and you’ve got to make sure everyone is happy, everything is working. Your focus has to be on everyone. And adding to that, you’ve also got to head the whole production. I was assistant director for Festen, but this is such a big step-up. Everyone is looking to you to make the decisions.”
What are the big future plans for yourself? Looking to go into Theatre in the long term?
“That’s the dream. This is the big show for me this year, I’ve put so much time into it because I want to focus on the Dissertation later on next time. I’ve put everything into this production, so I’m going to be absolutely shattered afterwards!. I’ll still be in Theatre Group, but in a much more spiritual capacity!”
And finally Liv, summarise Dorian Gray for us in one sentence?
“I’ll need time for this question! Hmmm. Challenging to direct, fascinating to be a part of it, and exciting to see the direction it takes.”
Talking to Olivia shows me that she certainly has a lot of pride and faith in her cast and given the recent success of Theatre Group shows, this doesn’t seem very surprising. Overall, it just makes me more excited to see the production!
The Picture of Dorian Gray stars Jordan Gardner as the titular role and is being performed by Southampton University Theatre Group from 1st-4th November 2017. Tickets are available here.