top of page

Thu, 03 Oct

|

Cavan

WORK IS THE CURSE OF THE DRINKING CLASS, BY NEIL TITLEY

Paris, 1898. It is a year since Oscar Wilde’s release from prison in the UK, where, at the height of his fame, he served two years hard labour for “gross indecency with men”.

WORK IS THE CURSE OF THE DRINKING CLASS, BY NEIL TITLEY
WORK IS THE CURSE OF THE DRINKING CLASS, BY NEIL TITLEY

Time & Location

2 more dates

03 Oct 2024, 20:00 – 23:00

Cavan, Town Hall St, Keadew, Cavan, Ireland

About the event

WORK IS THE CURSE OF THE DRINKING CLASSES BY NEIL TITLEY

TOWNHALL ARTS CENTRE, TUESDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2024

PERFORMED BY WILL GOVAN

DIRECTED BY REBECCA O'CONNOR

Paris, 1898. It is a year since Oscar Wilde’s release from prison in the UK, where, at the height of his fame, he served two years hard labour for “gross indecency with men”. 

 Impoverished and in failing health, Wilde stays alone at a dingy hotel in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and spends what little money he has on alcohol. “This poverty really breaks one’s heart,” he wrote to his publisher, “it is so filthy, so utterly depressing, so hopeless, pray do what you can.” He was to die two years later, at the age of 46, in exile from his family and his home.

In 2017, Wilde was among an estimated 50,000 men who were pardoned in the UK for homosexual acts that were no longer considered offences under the Policing and Crime Act (homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967, and in Ireland in 1993). 

‘Titley balances Wilde’s almost dutiful humour with an unsentimental portrayal of his suffering in Reading Gaol, his bitter perception of man’s inhumanity to man. He also captures his character’s dignity in despair and the comedy makes the heartbreak of Wilde’s life even more poignant. It is a most moving effect.’ Evening Standard

‘The standing ovation that accompanied the performance at The Moat Theatre in Naas on 28 September 2023 can largely be put down to Will Govan’s truthful impersonation of the aesthete. It was impressive to see the actor’s exceptional height on stage and feel the inherently attractive force of his demeanour and utterances. There is a je ne sais quoi about him which impels the entire audience throughout the show.’ Eszter György, Oscar Wilde Society 

‘Funny and melancholic.’ The Times

‘Charming and witty.’ Irish Times 

‘Fine and genuinely moving.’ Festival Times, Edinburgh 

‘I found myself finding out more about Wilde than any lecturer in an entire semester of school could teach. A highly intelligent piece of writing that I would gladly recommend.’ Ontario Arts Review

WILL GOVAN grew up in the UK, where he acted in several Shakespeare productions before choosing to study portrait painting at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London. He is an artist and co-founder of The Moth. After a hiatus of seven years, in which he interviewed the likes of Colm Tóibín, Sally Rooney and Anne Enright for The Moth magazine, he is returning to his first love, reviving the award-winning Moth Productions theatre company to take on the role of Oscar Wilde in Work is the Curse of the Drinking Classes. 

NEIL TITLEY was born in Inverness in Scotland. An actor and writer, he spent his theatrical career concentrating on solo shows. He performed Work is the Curse of the Drinking Classes over 700 times in five continents before retiring in 2017. His play on George Bernard Shaw, Shaw’s Corner, was televised in over twenty countries. He is the author of The Oscar Wilde World of Gossip: A Subversive Encycolpaedia of Victorian Anecdote. 

REBECCA O’CONNOR is an author and co-founder of The Moth. She was a member of the QUB Drama Society, where she produced several plays. Her work has been shortlisted for the Irish Times Strong Shine Award and the Kate O’Brien Award, and she was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize by Poetry Review. Her debut novel He Is Mine and I Have No Other was published in 2018: ‘A remarkable account of adolescent love in the 1990s, backlit by the true story of 35 children who burned to death in a Cavan orphanage 50 years earlier’ (Critics Choice, Irish Independent).

Share this event

bottom of page