The land ruled by King Oedipus is plagued by ill-fortune and the people are promised relief by the gods if the slayer of the former king is apprehended and punished. This does not bode well... See full summary »
The land ruled by King Oedipus is plagued by ill-fortune and the people are promised relief by the gods if the slayer of the former king is apprehended and punished. This does not bode well for King Oedipus and his Queen. (Performed in masks by the Stratford, Ontario, Shakespearean Festival Players.) Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
A good, if at times, over-the-top, attempt to present a Greek play as the Greeks might have seen it.
Sophocles, William Butler Yeats, Tyrone Guthrie -- sounds like a winning combination, doesn't it? And for the most part it is. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, it may be one of the best known plays in the Western world. Unlike Shakespeare, though, it cannot really be done "realistically." Greek drama is not realistic, but highly formal. What Guthrie tried to do in this production was capture the artificiality, with all of the principals wearing great masks, such as might be seen at great distances, from the back of the theatre of Dionysus. Masks don't change expression, and at times, the masks don't match the words, but that is the way the Greeks would see the play. Besides, the fixed masks continually remind us of the underlying sadness and doom of the play. He also had the actors deliver their lines in a rather sing-song fashion, which at times proves almost too much. Unfortunately, he did not have the chorus really move about the stage dancing during their choral odes, as they probably did when the play was performed in the Theater of Dionysus in Athens in the 5th c. BCE. Still, it is probably the best way to see what a Greek play must have been like for those who saw it in ancient Athens so long ago.
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