Yes this is the classic Greek play. Yes Sophocles is alive and well. But director David Daniel did an amazing and masterful job in his adaptation of the play to appeal to 21st Century audiences without losing any of the angst and gravitas of the original!
Here the poetry flows more smoothly and recognizable to the modern ear. And Mr. Daniel’s clever insertions of the vernacular and current adages brings out an audience chuckle or two and balances out some of the weight of the story.
I will sit here quietly while you stamp and shout
And Mr. Daniel’s Greek chorus is more limber and interactive and helps guide us along through the story! Thank them for that…and their solo interjections and asides provide a few insights we might not catch without their help!
Gavin Lawrence is a masterful Oedipus and he plays against the image that the chorus provides of their king that we too are as befuddled by his confusion as are they. The fearful man who rants about the stage in a way unbecoming to the king we expected…and Mr. Lawrence makes us totally forget the clear level headed man we thought would take charge!
Creon, Oedipus’ brother in law and uncle, is played by a very regal and earnest Corey Jones…who clearly is undone by the ranting Oedipus. Of course he is working with knowledge of only half the story that the rest of use are privy too. But Mr. Jones holds his character up and plays the loyal, honest, royal personage to the last!
And the most in control on center stage is Creon’s sister and the mother/wife of Oedipus, Jocasta, as played by Sun Mee Chomet . At first regal with a bit of haughty, she puts both Creon and Oedipus in their place. Ms. Chomet makes her character believable and forceful and makes clear attempts to hide her vulnerability until the truth is revealed.
Perhaps the most effective character in this adaptation is La Shawn Banks as the blind prophet, Tiresias. He stays the course in the face of an angrier and angrier Oedipus as he introduces the story line that will eventually unravel the fairy tale that is Thebes and destroy the king but will cure the plague and all other ills that are destroying the city.
And my personal favorite? Ted Deasy as the Corinthian messenger who believes that he is bringing good (but sad) news and is happy to tell his stories since he has no knowledge of the consequences to Oedipus, Jocasta, or Thebes. On one hand the most entertaining and the other the most congenial character in the play.
I am sorry that this response is so late in the play’s run. I watched this via the At Home streaming option and because of technical difficulties it wasn’t available until this past Monday…and I couldn’t get to it until yesterday. The live version runs at the American Player Theatre’s Hill Theatre through tomorrow October 9, 2021. And because of the technical difficulties with the streaming version, that will now be available through October 24th! Information on the play is here and ticket information is here!
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