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Sophocles:

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topics: shakespeare * plays * shows * classics : dramatic literature I + dramaturgy & playwrighting * mini-history *
Oedipus: "Life ends where it begins."
Stage Directing Theory
Directing Theory: pre-text, text and super-text

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* Caligari 2009 - Lul 2010

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ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
* Sophocles *

Summary

Unknowingly, Oedipus kills his father, King Laius of Thebes, and marries his mother, Jocasta. When he learns the truth, he blinds himself in despair.
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Mikado
"Everyone of us recognises Oedipus as well the blind Tiresias in him or herself. They are directly linked, one with other. It is difficult to hear the truth and to tell the truth. Only those who are able to hear the truth about her or himself can tell the truth to another." Korteweg e.a., 1996, p. 122.

Questions

Spring 2005: PUBLIC LECTURE / Open Rehearsals

1. Oedipus Tiranicus: Greek Democracy and Republicans v. Democracts

2. WHY Oedipus? Horror, Terror and Terrorism.

3. "Mr. Oedipus and His Boys" + "Mr. Oedipus and His Girls"

4. "Who is Oedipus?" Everyman? Hidden king. Secret Desires in the popup maqil. "I am Oedipus!"

* Topics (list) I need to dicuss with the cast? (actors.crew attendence is manditory; second part after the lecture is "cold readings" = on feet analysis).

My (our) questions:

1.20.05. Bush's enaguration speech:

"Destiny" and American "Character" -- God is mentioned 30 times!

What do we mean by "randevu with destiny"?

What do we say?

...

2005-2006 Season: Pygmalion and Farces (Chekhov).

* Oedipus hyperlinked *

Notes

Tairov [Phaedra]: (1) 'classics' as material for interpretation, (2) a 'fresh glance' as the condition of using classics in the modern repertoire, (3) 'antiquity' as the solid ground for theatrical experimentation.
Anti-Oedipus
amazon.com:
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Setting
• Characters
• Conflict
• Plot
• Themes
• Mood
• Background Information
• Literary/Historical Information
• Historical Context Of The Play

Preporartion Through Study chapter (old directing textbook) *

This play, written almost 2500 years ago, is still so relevant today...

questions

bach8.mid *

Thebes News Broadcasting (TNB): Op-Ed

"Thebes - A Murderous Sea"

May the gods help us! What is happening to our beloved land? Why are beasts and vegetation dying? Why are our unborn children dying in their mother’s womb? Why are we starving, being afflicted by a mysterious curse that is crippling this land?

Thebes has always had its fair share of troubles. Many years ago, a sphinx threatened our people and to add to our trouble, our king was mysteriously killed by someone. We were ecstatic when a stranger came upon our land and got rid of our plight when he answered the sphinx’s riddle. We are forever grateful to our mighty king, Oedipus, for what he has done. However, what can he do to end our suffering now? He may seem like a god, but he is still a man and a regular man, no matter how powerful he can be, cannot end this plague single-handedly. Instead, he must acquire the assistance of the gods. May they have mercy on us.

Lord Creon had gone to the oracle at Delphi to ask for information about this sudden plague. He came back with news that we must search out King Laius’ killer and bring him to justice. This is the only way the plague will disappear. We must find the perpetrator as fast as we can before our land becomes a ruin and our people become shriveled corpses. King Oedipus has vowed to do whatever he can to help us. We are forever grateful to this kind stranger from Corinth who laid down his life for his subjects. King Laius would’ve liked King Oedipus very much.

Oedipus review
Shrew poster 2004

This was in Africa. I went into a little village, near Ifé in Nigeria, because I was invited by an African director to see his new production. He said, "I've done an adaptation of Oedipus" , taking exactly the same structure as in the play, but I've just changed the location, it's taking place here, outside Ifé, at the crossroads. The King is killed at the crossroads on the road to Oshogbo, just a mile up the road there. Otherwise it's exactly as Sophocles wrote it, but it has never ever been seen here until today.

So I went into a court yard crammed with people. There was a tremendous excitement because there was going to be a play and word had gone around that there was a very interesting, exciting, marvellous play. The whole court yard was crammed. There were children. In African performances when the children come too far forward there is a man with a sort of whip who comes and bangs on the ground and pretends to be fierce, it is part of the performance, he doesn't mean any harm to anyone, but he does that so that the children all retreat like a tide and then gradually creep forward again. On all the walls there were kids sitting, there were people in the trees and there was a tremendous buzz of excitement.

The performance started, and on came Oedipus. The director had cast for Oedipus the person he had wanted to play it, a small, jovial, fat little man who was the local store keeper. He was known to everybody as being a sort of rather wily, quick-witted and amusing character, and clearly well-loved. When he came on I was a bit surprised, is this Oedipus ? Having in mind all the sort of great, noble people we have seen attempt to play this part, it was very unexpected when this jovial man came in and the play started.

The audience at once got the situation. This funny little man is going to ask too many questions and he is going to land himself in a lot of trouble. So they sat back and enjoyed it and it was the funniest thing they had ever seen. I suddenly realised that Oedipus is constructed like a brilliant comedy and when Tiresias came on, the audience knew in advance that he shouldn't spill the beans, but nothing could prevent Oedipus asking awkward questions and so the comedy grew and grew.

I went along with the audience seeing a brand-new Oedipus and thinking it marvellously comic, but after a while I began to have doubts. I remember all the performances I'd seen where the director tries to make a play modern just by sending it up and making it funny. But I thought yes, if you do this with Oedipus, you pay an enormous price because in making it funny, which is in a way easy, you pay the price that you miss what has made the play so much more than that — that has given it its immortality. So I began to separate myself a bit from this laughing audience. Suddenly, the old shepherd spoke and Oedipus recognised that it is his father that he has killed. Now the whole of that laughter evaporated. The audience was confronted by the most terrible crime in Africa. A man has killed his father. This is the most horrifying crime that anyone can commit and here is this jovial man, and a jovial man can kill his father as much as a noble man; the small jovial, wily man suddenly stops in his tracks, he has killed his father and the audience... there was one of those silences, the audience couldn't breath. This can't go further, I thought, but it could. He had also slept with his mother. This was the silence of amazement, of horror, of awe. As I speak of this, now, tonight, we can all together feel the silence that was there. When the audience left at the end of the play, thanks to the laughter and to this moment of simple, absolute recognition, they most likely had the most powerful experience of Oedipus that any audience can have today. You too are silent. That reality is here. For a moment. This is how in the theatre we understand the healing process.

Peter BROOK

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Quotes & Thoughts:


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Oedipus

Oedipus online **
1) Oedipus arrogantly tells the Chorus, "You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers."

2) Oedipus claims that Creon and Tiresias are engaged in a conspiracy against the crown when he charges, "Creon, the soul of trust, my loyal friend from the start steals against me... so hungry to overthrow me he sets this wizard on me, this scheming quack, this fortune-teller peddling lies, eyes peeled for his own profit--seer blind in his craft!"

3) These accusations likewise fuel Tiresias’ temper. Before he leaves the scene, he warns, "So, you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this. You with your precious eyes, you're blind to the corruption of your life, to the house you live in, those you live with—who are your parents? Do you know? All unknowing you are the scourge of your own flesh and blood, the dead below the earth and the living here above, and the double lash of your mother and your father's curse will whip you from this land one day, their footfall treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding your eyes that now can see the light!" Here, Tiresias prophesizes Oedipus' tragic fate.

4) When Oedipus tells his wife that a prophecy from Delphi supposedly tells his awful fate, Jocasta reassures him, saying, "No skill in the world, nothing human can penetrate the future."

5) When Jocasta asks Oedipus why he wants to see the servant, he responds, "I can hold nothing back from you, now I've reached this pitch of dark foreboding."

6) As Oedipus and Jocasta return to the palace, the Chorus takes the stage, describing Oedipus in not so flattering terms: "Pride breeds the tyrant violent pride, gorging, crammed to bursting with all that is overripe and rich with ruin.... Can such a man, so desperate, still boast he can save his life from the flashing bolts of god?"

7) Oedipus gives his famous quote: "O god—all come true, all burst to light! O light—now let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at last—cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands!"

8) Using Jocasta’s brooches, Oedipus gouges out his eyes, screaming, "You, you'll see no more the pain I suffered, all the pain I caused! Too long you looked on the ones you never should have seen, blind to the ones you longed to see, to know! Blind from this hour on! Blind in the darkness—blind!"

9) Oedipus’ attitude toward Creon seems dramatically altered when Creon approaches Oedipus, who implores the audience: “Oh no, what can I say to him? How can I ever hope to win his trust? I wronged him so, just now, in every way. You must see that—I was so wrong, so wrong.”

10) Oedipus furthers Sophocles’ sight metaphor when he defends his decision to humble himself through blindness: “What good were eyes to me? Nothing I could see could bring me joy.”

The idea of sight and darkness.

http://www.enotes.com/oedipus/2181
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Oedipus-Picasso-new

2005: Total Acting & Total Directing *

PS

Oedipus the King, Lines 1 – 525
1. The gods are a strong presence in this play, invoked by many characters for many reasons. Discuss the role the gods play in human life—as healers, as bearers of prophecy, as beings that must be appeased and as forces shaping fate and destiny.
2. The underlying theme of this play is the question of free will and how human beings shape their own lives. Do you believe that we are destined to fulfill some role already scripted for us? Do you believe that you are free to shape your own life? Do you believe that human actions can have effects and consequences that are only known much later?

NB

Fate, Freedom, and the Tragic Experience: An Introductory Lecture to Sophocles's Oedipus the King Fatalism --

The Hero (individual) -- "Walt Whitman, for example, the great democrat, expressed the views that America had no place for Shakespearean tragedy, and the first Commissar for Education in the Soviet Union, Lunacharsky, said much the same."

Next: act I
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2005 & Then
The Chorus -- it's important to note just how incapable they are of acting decisively... hesitation, fears, hopes, questions.
topics: shakespeare * plays * shows * classics : dramatic literature I + dramaturgy & playwrighting * mini-history *
The Irony of Oedipus's Story: The Interplay of Fate and Free Will -- The Chorus at the end of the play (like the reader) may blame fate or the gods or the impossible demands of life. Oedipus does not. He remains the master of what happens to him. The responsibility is his, and what happens to him is entirely up to him.
glossary of greek myphology
http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/introser/oedipus.htm -- "He is acting in the interests of the community, but his primary motivation does not come from any sense of ethical propriety or accepted norms of behaviour. He answers only to himself, and he is not willing to compromise his quest for the truth in the name of any social principle which others, like Creon or Jocasta, may offer, because to do so would be to violate his sense of himself. In that sense, he is like Job throughout most of Job's story: the only answer he will accept is one from god. Like Job, Oedipus is extraordinarily stubborn, resisting any pleas for moderation or limits on his own desires for life on his terms. The main difference between Job and Oedipus, of course, is that when fate reveals itself, Job bows down before it; Oedipus continues to defy it to the end."

POV * pure war * popculture v. art * tech * Post-AmeriKa * HIM

"The comic hero, I have suggested, is the one who compromises for survival and a safe return. The tragic hero is the one to chooses not to compromise for the sake of continuing on his own terms, even if that means he will soon come to a nasty ending." ,p align=right> Horace Walpole: Comedy is for the person who thinks, tragedy for the person who feels.

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1) The fatalistic reading: Oedipus is merely a puppet of the gods, doomed beforehand to a terrible fate. Unlike, e.g., the oracle about a "great empire" given to Croesus, the oracles given to Laius and Oedipus were not contingent on any human decision: they stated with absolute certainty that the baby would kill his father and marry his mother. A variation on this reading finds in Oedipus' fate another example of inherited guilt: like Croesus, Oedipus falls due to the act of an ancestor (Laius' rape of Chrysippus). [FN 2]

2) The "fatal flaw" reading: Oedipus' fate is the result of his own rashness and arrogance. He is headstrong and foolish (in not questioning Polybus and Merope in more detail or pursuing his original question with the Delphic oracle; in killing a man "old enough to be his father" only then to marry a woman "old enough to be his mother"; in not listening to Tiresias). He is also violent and "hybristic" (he slaughters Laius and his entire retinue on the most insignificant of grounds; he is ready to condemn Creon and Tiresias on flimsy evidence; he is cruel to the Theban shepherd). [FN 3]

3) The aesthetic reading: the play does not yield to systematic analysis but instead presents a moving and theatrically effective rendition of the Oedipus myth.

[The mythographers tend to attribute Laius' evil fate either to his kidnapping and rape of Chrysippus (a violation of the guest-host relationship) or his failure to obey Apollo's oracle.]

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Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannos

Oedipus-UAF

SOME QUESTIONS to stimulate discussion:


Scenes/Monologues for acting and directing classes:

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dramaturgy --

list :

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Creon-Oedipus

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