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AP English Literature Field Trip

Doris Hayata

Doris Hayata

Jeslyn Chou, Staff Writer

On Oct. 24, students in AP English Literature attended a live showing of A Picture of Dorian Gray at A Noise Within. This play is based on the novella by Oscar Wilde, which the AP English Literature students read as part of their summer reading assignment. The play covers the theme of hedonism which, simply put, is the pursuit of pleasure.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is set in 19th century, London, England. It follows the story of a man who is captivated by a portrait of himself, leading him to sell his soul to preserve his youthful looks. This captivating plot prompts a story of turmoil and drama, with many twists and turns. Ultimately, the main character pays the price for his self-obsession, and the people around him suffer as well.

Special effects enhanced the theatre company’s nearly 2 ½ -hour long performance. The play features Colin Bates as Dorian Gray, Amin El Gamal as Basil Hallward, and Frederick Stuart as Lord Henry Wotton. These three actors, who play the main characters, have been praised by publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Broadway World. On this trip, AP English Literature students were able to experience the story like never before.

The AP English Literature teachers thought this play would be a great opportunity for the students to be able to visualize the story, as well as branch out and explore an interest in the arts. Prior to watching the play, Mr. Matthew Woodin, one of the AP English Literature teachers at AHS, believed that “anytime students are able to see work acted out, like a play, it will be a lifelong memory. It will also allow them to make connections to the work, in a way reading cannot fulfill.” Mr. Woodin’s goals include finding “ways to engage students in their reading” and to expand his students’ views by introducing them to different forms of literature and fostering a lifetime love of reading. Attending the showing of A Picture of Dorian Gray is one way to do so.

After watching the play, senior Kanchan Kaur thought it was interesting to see how the story came to life. She also found that the theater’s adaptation included “aspects of the novel that she overlooked while reading, and seemed to be a focal point in the play.” Another difference she found was the modern-day interpretation the performance had, which she found captivating. Along with Kanchan’s sentiments, senior Pourobee Saha’s thoughts on the play were mostly positive, as she said it thoroughly enhanced her reading experience. She was a fan of “the staging of the play and the way the characters were portrayed added an element of familiarity which kept [her] invested.” What she enjoyed in the theater’s adaptation was their choice of keeping the picture frame, where Dorian Gray’s painting is supposed to be, blank. Pourobee appreciated that the contents of the portrait were dictated by the unique imagination of each, individual viewer, as “no painted portrait could have compared to the fantastical descriptions in the book.” Although she believed the first act was a bit long, she was engaged during the second act and found herself pleasantly surprised by the actor’s performances.

In conclusion, this field trip was an amazing way for students to engage in and view the novel in a new light, and provided an opportunity to connect with literature and the arts. Not only that, but it’s sure to be a prominent memory in their high school career.  Thank you to A Noise Within for such a great performance!

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AP English Literature Field Trip