Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
|A CurtainUp Review
The Oedipus Tree
By Laura Hitchcock
The Oedipus Tree is the latest foray into that popular genre, revisionist myth. In this play, the classic tragedy of the king who inadvertently killed his father and married his mother is revisited in the hereafter and the central character is Laius, father of Oedipus.
Written and directed by British actor Tony Tanner who also plays Laius, the play is cast in classic Greek blank verse form. Though it runs only 90 minutes, most of those are spent on words.
A Man is Laius's guide through the events of his life which begin with his elopement with young Prince Chrysippus, whom he drops to marry Jocasta. The boy, who dies while still in his teens, says he came willingly and still adores Laius.
The story traces the familiar incidents of the Oedipus story: the plague that struck Thebes; the discovery, announced by Jocasta's greedy brother Creon, of Oedipus's sins; Jocasta's suicide; Oedipus's blinding himself; and his daughter Antigone's confrontation of Creon in defense of her parents before she leads Oedipus away on their lifelong wanderings.
The strength of revisionism depends on shedding new light on material, but that hasn't happened here. In the afterlife there is forgiveness and a finale of reunion and reconciliation, which is nice but not dramatic. Perhaps this is intended to be "emotion recollected in tranquility".
Tanner has assembled a fine cast, particularly Anna Lanyon as Antigone. He has presented his material with simple dignity but it has an aura more of the classroom than the stage.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co. >Click image to buy.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.