Dearest Guest,

While your schedule is clean of public in-person events, we would like to cordially invite you to attendance of what may well be,

the Trial of the Century,

as celebrated Irish author and playwright Oscar Wilde faces down his public enemies and defends the aesthetics of beauty and art beyond the morals of the mundane.

It may be important to be earnest, but with this we will see how far that gets you in the court of law!


Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance

Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts


Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moisés Kaufman will be presented as a remote, live performance hosted on Zoom Webinar March 4–6 at 7:30 p.m.

Moisés Kaufman’s work in arranging sources on Oscar Wilde into a complete piece offers an almost voyeuristic look into what was claimed to be the “Trial of the Century.” Taking from various sources, including news sources, notes on the trials, and various letters between Wilde and his associates, the play builds together various viewpoints to explore the intensity of a phenom’s breaking point.

Kaufman is the founder and artistic director of Tectonic Theatre Project, a theatre company that utilizes what it calls Moment Work, a collaborative theatrical devising method, to build productions through the ground up from various sources and the input and discovery of every member of the team. The Tectonic Theatre Project’s other works include The Laramie Project, Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, and Tony Award-winning 33 Variations, among many more.

The three trials start with a libel case by Wilde against the father of a young male friend of his who he spends much of his time with. While Wilde was married with children, he was well known for enjoying the company of young men, the extent of that being explored in the play. The father attempted to disrupt the Wilde’s public works, and finally left a physical message at a club that Wilde attended that he was a “posing Sodomite” which incited Wilde to start up the lawsuit. The failure of this libel case essentially guaranteed that the Crown would prosecute for what is termed gross indecency, homosexual acts between men, and ended the life of the Irish writer as he knew it to be.

Productions during the 2020-2021 season have been made available at no cost due to the generosity of donors who regularly support the School of Theatre and Dance. Please consider making a gift to help support future programs.