The Gilbert Theater brings the scandalous, fascinating and infamous story and play
“Oedipus Rex” to the stage from March 26 until April 11.
The play was originally written by Sophocles as a part of the trilogy “The Theban Plays” that included Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone. It was first performed in 429 B.C. and the story has notoriously stuck around till present day. The story has also influenced the works of Sigmund Freud and psychologists who study the ‘Oedipus complex.’
“The plot is very simple, there’s a massive plague going on where everyone’s dying in the streets and the people are begging the king, Oedipus, to find some kind of solution,” said Montgomery Sutton, the director for
The play dives into the prophecy and investigation of an unsolved murder of the former king of Thebes to end the plague. That unleashes a lot of events and people called in for questions and stories in a “thrilleresque” way, he said.
“Playing Oedipus is definitely a role I haven’t had to tackle before, it's definitely brought some enlightenment during the rehearsal process in that, it's something broader than what we know about Oedipus and the Oedipus complex,” said actor Deannah Robinson. “There is more sympathy for him than what we are used to.”
Sutton, a returning director at the theater, directed “Antigone” about three years ago at the Gilbert. His expertise in theatre is acting, directing and playwriting.
The audience will watch the performance in a non-traditional setting, sitting in a tennis court arrangement, sitting on each side facing one another while the action takes place in the middle.
“I am a big fan of that style, one of the things that makes it unique is the performance will never be the same twice and there will never be two audiences who are the same,” Sutton said.
Robinson said she’s excited about the fluidity of the show from beginning to end.
This adaptation looks at the origins of Greek theatre as both an artistic, civic and religious event, so the music becomes more of a rock-folk-hymn style that should be very relevant to the audience, Sutton said.
“It's so good, so good,” Robinson said.
“Last night after we wrapped up, I sat in my car and cried because it's been a year since I felt so connected to the character in a play in a way that was real and had a heart-to-heart with them,” said actor Ella Mock, who plays four different characters in the play.
I love it, it's such a challenge, it’s really like the original Greek theatre style, where the chorus would have different masks, costume signifiers being really obvious that they are the same actors playing different roles, they said.
Sutton added that the play may raise a lot of questions concerning current cultural and political issues, many of which the audience will recognize in the play.
“They can look forward to 90 minutes of edge of your seat, lightning-fire thriller, it’s incredibly intense,” Sutton said.