In 1308 Dante Alighieri began work on The Divine Comedy, widely regarded as the pinnacle of human literary achievement. He completed his masterwork, all 14,233 lines of it in 1320, and, perhaps more than anyone else, helped to usher in the Renaissance.
Of note, Dante is also the protagonist of his own work, guided by the Roman poet Virgil through Hell, Purgatory, and finally, Heaven.
So, who better to star in a modern take on the epic than myself? All I had to do was choose a suitable guide...
As conductor, I decided early on the majestic Oscar Wilde, with whom I have long felt a spiritual connection. Did you know we share a birthday? Now you do. The choice was solidified when, reading the Ellmann biography on Wilde, I learned Oscar has a direct familial connection to Dante on his mother's side! It was settled, Oscar and I were going to Hell!
This play is one of my distinct joys (my third son's middle name is Wilde) - for how else does one get to hang out with the Oscar Wilde? It was a Eugene O'Neill (Hey, another playwright who shares my birthday!) semi-finalist, and besides spending time with the family, whenever I work on it, is when I am my happiest.
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