Oscar Wilde wrote Salome in French, in 1891, and the play premiered in Paris, in 1896. The play was first publicly performed in Germany at the Neues Theater in Berlin in 1903, under the direction of Max Reinhardt. Upon seeing the production Richard Strauss premiered his opera of the same name at the Royal Opera House in Dresden in 1905.
Salome tells in one act the Biblical story of Salome, step-daughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her step-father's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of Iokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils, and for revenge on Iokanaan who refused to yield to her desires.
In this new multi-media adaptation of Salome, Artistic Director Rene Migliaccio's staging is a visual and poetic allegory of the never ending struggle between Eroticism and Death, Love and Destruction, Passion and Restraint. Relevant to our times, Oscar Wilde's Salome addresses the issues of sexuality, immorality, religion, wealth and power. The incestuous and inflammatory Dance of the Seven Veils is the ritualistic trance experience of Desire and Love, which reaches its paroxysm into the psychotic and passionate kiss of Salome to the severed head of Iokanaan.
Rene Migliaccio's rendering of Salome stirs away from the Judeo-Christian biblical paradigm that looks upon women as fatal seductress or the instigators of evil sexual acts. Instead, this production looks at Salome as the by-product of the moral ills of a society. The moral ills, personified by King Herod, her step-father and Queen Herodias her mother, have created the psychotic persona of Salome. This young virgin's experience of a burning passion and love rejected by the prophet Iokanaan leads her to madness and death. A madness and a death that act as a consciousness awakening and the redemption of our moral failings.