Shows * Oedipus @ Amazon * 2005 * Production eGroup : (cast and crew must subscribe)!
The major theme explored in Oedipus Rex is that fate and character are intertwined...
Stage Directing Theory
Directing Theory: pre-text, text and super-text
*2007 -- dramlit class notes

Anti-Oedipus part 2 *


Anti-Oedipus Deleuze and Guattari. Univ of Minnesota Pr (paper); ISBN: 0816612250


... an art of the self.

"There is no such thing as either man or nature now, only a process of that produces the one within the other and couples the machines together. Producing- machines, desiring-machines everywhere, schizophrenic machines, all of species life [la vie générique]: the self and the non-self, outside and inside, no longer have any meaning whatsoever" (p. 2)


... the psychoanalytic Oedipus, a State which turns into the Entrepreneurial State of the society of control.

‘One must not look for a ‘philosophy’ amid the extraordinary profusion of new notions and surprise concepts: Anti-Oedipus is not a flashy Hegel. I think that Anti-Oedipus can best be read as an ‘art’. (...) Questions that are less concerned with why this or that than with how to proceed. How does one introduce desire into thought, into discourse, into action? (...) Anti-Oedipusis a book of ethics…’ Michel Foucault, Preface to Anti-Oedipus [ * ]

"Oedipus X," "Oedipus05," "Anti-Oedipus" -- I still didn't make my mind about the title. All three represent connections with the present, but most important to explore "The American Age" themes. American dsstiny, fate, curse. Especially in the light of 9/11...

American came to rule the world after killing its father -- The Old World. Envy and jealousy. The whole world. The king of the 20th century. The last act of the tragedy?

America is unknown to itself.

Sphinx -- the media! Blinding itself -- 24 hours of news.

Deleuze (Foucault, Baudliard, Virilio) -- all about "America"! How to tell OUR story through the Sophocles' tale?

I place the location somewhere in African, Middle East country only because every "nation" today is another state of the USA.

music file(s) * [ more on the page ]

ZEUS: The son of Cronus and Rhea, he was fated to dethrone his father... Rhea; Daughter of Uranus and Gaea, she married her brother Cronus, who swallowed all their children except Zeus, whom Rhea concealed. Zeus then overcame Cronus and restored his siblings... [ Cronus = Time ]

Titan -- in Greek mythology, any of the children of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth) and their descendants. According to Hesiod's Theogony, there were 12 original Titans: the brothers Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Cronus and the sisters Thea, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys.

Gaea, also called Ge -- Greek personification of the Earth as a goddess. Mother and wife of Uranus (Heaven), from whom the Titan Cronus, her last born child by him, separated her, she was also mother of the other Titans, the Gigantes, the Erinyes, and the Cyclopes (see giant; Fury; Cyclops); hence literature and art sometimes made her the enemy of Zeus, for the Titans and Gigantes threatened him.
Juno (Latin) -- the wife of Jupiter, queen of heaven, and goddess of light, birth, women, and marriage -- compare HERA... the wife (and sister) of Zeus!

Even the Christian concept left the myth of mother who gives birth to her Father!

Images = Symbols = Ideas : Sphinx came after they gave the child away (to die). Why couldn't Laios face the Sphinx? Did Jocasta sense that the boy is alive? Hoped? Should I bring in the ghost of Laios? And gods appear?

Deleuze and Guattari: Two Meditations ***

The Willingness to Ignore the Truth: When Oedipus and Jocasta begin to get close to the truth about Laius’s murder, in Oedipus the King, Oedipus fastens onto a detail in the hope of exonerating himself. Jocasta says that she was told that Laius was killed by “strangers,” whereas Oedipus knows that he acted alone when he killed a man in similar circumstances. This is an extraordinary moment because it calls into question the entire truth-seeking process Oedipus believes himself to be undertaking. Both Oedipus and Jocasta act as though the servant’s story, once spoken, is irrefutable history. Neither can face the possibility of what it would mean if the servant were wrong. This is perhaps why Jocasta feels she can tell Oedipus of the prophecy that her son would kill his father, and Oedipus can tell her about the similar prophecy given him by an oracle (867–875), and neither feels compelled to remark on the coincidence; or why Oedipus can hear the story of Jocasta binding her child’s ankles (780–781) and not think of his own swollen feet. While the information in these speeches is largely intended to make the audience painfully aware of the tragic irony, it also emphasizes just how desperately Oedipus and Jocasta do not want to speak the obvious truth: they look at the circumstances and details of everyday life and pretend not to see them.

The Limits of Free Will: Prophecy is a central part of Oedipus the King. The play begins with Creon’s return from the oracle at Delphi, where he has learned that the plague will be lifted if Thebes banishes the man who killed Laius. Tiresias prophesies the capture of one who is both father and brother to his own children. Oedipus tells Jocasta of a prophecy he heard as a youth, that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, and Jocasta tells Oedipus of a similar prophecy given to Laius, that her son would grow up to kill his father. Oedipus and Jocasta debate the extent to which prophecies should be trusted at all, and when all of the prophecies come true, it appears that one of Sophocles’ aims is to justify the powers of the gods and prophets, which had recently come under attack in fifth-century b.c. Athens.

Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.


Sight and Blindness

line 14: Oedipus speaking to the priests about him sensing trouble ahead; "I would be blind to misery,"

line 28-9: Priest responding to line 14; "Our city-look around you, see with your own eyes-our ship pitches wildly,"

line 70-1: Same subject as above; "I see-how could I fail to see what longings bring you here?"

line 119: Oedipus speaking of the killing of their former king; "I never saw the man myself."

line 150: Oedipus speaking of how he will try and solve the murder of their former king, Laius; "...I'll bring it all to light myself!"

line 216-7: Chorus pleading the gods for help; "O golden daughter of god, send rescue radiant as the kindness in your eyes!"

line 323: The leader of the chorus speaking of the blind prophet Tiresias; "Lord Tiresias sees with the eyes of Lord Apollo."

line 344-5: Oedipus speaking of Tiresias; "Blind as you are, you can feel all the more what sickness haunts our city."

*line 360: Tiresias speaking of the problems that the city wants solved; "How terrible-to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees!"

line 425-7: Oedipus scolding Tiresias for accusing him of being the curse upon the town; "Blind, lost in the night, endless night that nursed you! You can't hurt me or anyone else who sees the light-you can never touch me."

line 441-2: Oedipus again, "going to town" on Tiresias; "...this fortune-teller peddling lies, eyes peeled for his own profit-seer blind in his craft!"

line 470-1: Tiresias "responding" to Oedipus's attacks; "You with your precious eyes, you're blind to the corruption of your life,"

line 477-9: Same as 470-1; "...their footfall treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding your eyes that now can see the light!"

*line 517-9: Same as previous two quotes, this time foreshadowing Oedipus's fate; "Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich, he will grope his way toward a foreign soil, a stick tapping before him step by step."

line 552-3: The chorus is expressing concern over the fight which has just ensued between Oedipus and Tiresias; "...I'm lost, and the wings of dark foreboding beating-I cannot see what's come, what's still to come..."

line 567-70: Same as previous quote; "No, not till I see these charges proved will I side with his accusers. We saw him then, when the she-hawk swept against him, saw with our own eyes his skill, his brilliant triumph..."

line 672-3: Creon, after having been accused of killing Laius and treason, Creon defends himself; "A man of sense, someone who sees things clearly would never resort to treason."

line 822: Oedipus infers to his wife (and mother...) Jocasta that he may be cause of the trouble, prompting Jocasta to be afraid; "I shudder to look at you."

line 878-80: Oedipus is recalling past events in his life, how he was prophesized to be the downfall of his parents; "...always running toward some place where I would never see the shame of all those oracles come true."

line 919-20: Oedipus prays to the gods that he is not the victim of fate (that he will bring the downfall of his royal family); "Oh no, not that you pure and awesome gods, never let me see that day!"

*line 1070-1: Jocasta gives us her theory on man and wisdom; "Not a man on earth can see a day ahead, groping through the dark."

line 1168-9: Oedipus wants the truth about his mysterious past; "I must know it all, must see the truth at last."

line 1190: Oedipus foreshadows his own fate; "I'll never see myself disgraced."

*line 1306-8: Oedipus finds out the truth that he 1) killed his father, Laius, the former king, and 2) he slept with his mother; "O god-all come true, all burst to light! O light-now let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at last-"

line 1315-7: The chorus sums up and philosophizes on the fate of men; "...who seizes more joy than just a dream, a vision? And the vision no sooner dawns than dies blazing into oblivion."

*line 1341: Chorus gives us a nice summary of what has happened; "...Time, all-seeing Time has dragged you to the light..."

*line 1350: Chorus foreshadows the fate of Oedipus; "...and now you bring down night upon my eyes."

*line 1358-9: The messenger adds to the chorus's speech; "Such things it hides, it soon will bring to light-terrible things, and none done blindly now..."

**line 1402-09: In the climax of the play, Oedipus finds out the truth about his past. This is probably one of the most important (if not the most important) sections of this play; "He rips off her brooches, the long gold pins holding her robes-and lifting them high, looking straight up into the points, he digs them down the sockets of his eyes, crying, '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!'"

*line1432-42: The chorus is talking about the wretched site of Oedipus after having gouged out his own eyes; "O the terror, the suffering, for all the world to see, the worst terror that ever met my eyes." "I pity you but I can't bear to look." " much fascinates my eyes, but you... I shudder at the sight."

line 1498: The chorus, speaking about Oedipus, falls prey to the same ignorance that Oedipus does earlier in the play; "Better to die than be alive and blind."


After seeing almost all of the quotes having to deal with sight, darkness, blindness, etc. it is obvious that they represent something deeper than their literal meaning. Most of the early quotes using the word "blind", represent the paradox that is presented with Oedipus and the "blind seer" Tiresias. Oedipus keeps pointing out the fact that Tiresias is blind, but fails to see (impossible to escape the word...) that, in fact, he himself is blind to the circumstances that are going on. Throughout the entire play, the only one who can clearly "see" is Tiresias. The chorus, Oedipus and the others can all "see" literally, but cannot see the "truth".

The double asterisk passages are of special importance. They parallel Plato's Allegory of the Cave practically to perfection. Line 1306-8, "O god-all come true, all burst to light! O light-now let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at last-" to me, symbolizes Oedipus having broken the chains of the cave, bursting towards the light (the truth). Since the light is so bright, he is blinded; he suddenly does not want to see the light, so he gouges out his own eyes. After having done so, Oedipus has descended back into the cave, into darkness...

In lines1432-42, "O the terror, the suffering, for all the world to see, the worst terror that ever met my eyes." "I pity you but I can't bear to look." the people of the town cannot look at the light (the truth), that is Oedipus; in fact, they state that, " much fascinates my eyes, but you... I shudder at the sight." This sounds exacly like the shadows playing upon the wall of the cave that occupies their time; they cannot look away from the shadow, and cannot look at the light-the light would bring them pain. In the final quote that I have added, line 1498, "Better to die than be alive and blind.", the crowd finalizes their ignorance on the subject of truth. Since one is blinded by the light after emerging from the cave, the people would rather die having been occupied by shadows than to face the real truth.

Graves and Tombs

Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

Oedipus’s Swollen Foot

The Three-way Crossroads

Oedipus Rex Themes for revision

Laius and Jocasta

 Consult Loxias, one of Apollo's (Phoebus) priests ("ministers"). (Tiresias serves Loxias and is described as his chief servant).


On being told that the child is cursed to kill his father they cast the child away. Notice that at this point they do not doubt the oracle at all.


A crucial ambiguity is that Jocasta implies that Laius could not bear to do this himself (lines 700 - 725) and that the actual casting away was done by a servant. Yet the shepherd (lines 1158 - 1231) says that Jocasta herself gave it to him.


Were Jocasta and Laius wise... or selfish?

Was Jocasta's love for her husband, above that of her own child, wrong in some way:


Apollo has neatly trapped Jocasta in a choice between husband and son - this dramatic irony is strong as she will re-marry a husband who is also her son.


Oedipus - "swell-foot" has riveted ankles in this casting away.

1. He is thus stigmatized from birth.

2. Riveted ankles are a traditional mark of the slave: Oedipus is thus enslaved/marked:

a. by his mother, as a foreshadowing of her later sexual marking of him with a stigma. The word stigma meaning a mark of evil, also means wound and is associated with blood (the stigmata of Catholic saints)

b. at a deeper symbolic level, he, like all human beings, is a slave to the will of the gods, doomed to fulfil a prophecy, a destiny he cannot escape. A man in some way crippled from birth. This clearly links to the idea of original sin, or a mark of Cain found later in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

c. by his mother and father in a metaphor for inheritance - genetic and in terms of one's fate.


Is it surprising that Jocasta at no time recognizes the mark of "swollen-feet" and her inevitable physical resemblance to Oedipus -- "the son she never had...." ?


The adoptive parents

 Polybus the Corinthian and Meropé the Dorian adopt Oedipus because they themselves are childless -- and through their generosity bring him up as their own son and deny to his face that he is adopted.


Notice the symmetry -- one set of selfish natural parents, one set of selfless adoptive parents -- whatever the differences of motivation -- both help fulfil the will of the gods.


Oedipus is thus "crippled" even at the heights of his physical prowess, sufficiently to carry a staff that he needs to use occasionally, yet he can walk on two legs alone -- and thus use the staff to kill Laius.


The symbolism of the cross-roads

 The killing of Laius happens at Phocis where the road divides to Delphi or Daulia.

Delphi -- the Oracle at Delphi was the most famous in all Greece -- symbolizing respect for -- and submission to -- the will of the gods -- Oedipus takes another road:


These are the cross-roads of his life. "A place where three roads meet" - birth, life, death...past, present, future.


The murder itself -- Laius seizes for a weapon the driver's "two-pronged goad" -- used to drive animals -- the fork a symbol of the crutch, of deception, of the rage of the elderly man -- Oedipus equally quick-tempered ("like father, like son") uses his "staff in his right hand" (right the traditional side of goodness --"staff of life"/phallic symbol/physical prowess of young male) to kill his father -- a generational symbolism.


The confrontation is at noon -- the sun is Apollo's symbol and noon the height of Apollo's power. At noon one should see most clearly, but in fact are blinded by sunlight and shadow -- a clear admission of the impotence of human senses before the power of divine creation -- at the height of his youth, in the fullest possible daylight -- Oedipus is blind.

The mood of the play from the beginning to the end is of devastation, destruction and gloom. The play opens with Thebes suffering from a severe plague due to an unresolved murder. This mood of suffering and pollution is emphasized as the play proceeds. That the whole kingdom must suffer for the sins of one man reveals how dynamic the universe in Greek tragedy is. Everything is interconnected and vindication must be sought in order for the kingdom to regain its normalcy. The suffering which begins as a phenomenon in the kingdom eventually concentrates on the pain and suffering of the royal family.


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Oedipus [Seneca] Freely Translated and Adapted by Michael Elliot Rutenberg

[Enter OEDIPUS wearing the Imperial
purple wool mantle, embroidered with
gold threads worn over a toga and tied at
the neck. He has on high-laced sandals.
JOCASTA is with him. She is dressed
in a diaphanous pastel tunic, stola and palla,
which is attached to a diadem. The effect
is more flowing than transparent. She
wears gold, jewels, and a diamond brooch.
He wears a garland, sheathed sword and belt


This insufferable night is almost at its end.
The morning sun
begins to show its hesitant face.
It drags itself out
from behind some silent ominous cloud,
and stares unwillingly at the sick earth below,
bringing with it gloom instead of hope.
Beneath it our streets and homes,
our temples—all glutted with the plague.
New heaps of dead
spewed up everywhere,
stiffening in the sickly morning light.
The brightening day to reveal…
all too soon…
the carnage night has brought.

Before this evil plague besieged my city
our people were happy.
Now there is disaster everywhere.
I don’t understand
why the gods have done this to us.
I stopped the hideous Sphinx.
Answered the riddle.
Destroyed her utterly.
And for that… as custom required…
I was made king and husband to you,
their widowed Queen.

And now this stinking pestilence
has struck a second time,
spreading havoc throughout the land,
making me think that…
I may be—in some unknown way—
responsible for this catastrophe.

I feel at this very moment,
the Fates are planning
some savage stroke against me.
What else should I think
when the blight that ravages Thebes
seems only to spare me
and those closest to me.
For what punishment am I reserved
that I remain unscathed amidst the devastation
that lays waste to everything in its path?

The city is in ruins.
No section of the populace
has escaped its deadly touch.
It is obvious that unknowingly I have sinned,
or the gods would not wish to wreck my kingdom.

Look around you.
Have you been outside?
Beyond the palace nothing grows.
The harvests stand ruined.
Springs have dried up
and turned to stinking pools that reek of death.
The stench of rotting corpses is everywhere.
There isn’t time any longer for a proper burial.
Instead… pile upon pile of diseased bodies
are heaped upon the funeral pyres and set ablaze.
Tearless relatives watch their once loved families
go up in billowing black smoke,
wondering when they’ll be next.

It seems we all await the funeral pyre.
I should pray for a quick, merciful death.
I don’t want to survive to the last…
the final witness to the end of Thebes.

Sphinx and Jocasta have the same face!


In Anti-Oedipus, expression is related to representation and signification, and thus it designates precisely what is not immanent to the term or thing. Expression poses a meaning outside of and detached from the real process and hence blocks the process. As such expression is the primary enemy of production. This is what Oedipus and psychoanalysis do: substitute representation or expression for process or production. "... the reproduction of desire gives way to a simple representation, in the process as well as theory of the cure. The productive unconscious makes way for an unconscious that knows only how to express itself--express itself in myth, in tragedy, in dream" (p. 54). The expressive unconscious is what destroys the productive unconscious: "The unconscious ceases to be what it is--a factory, a workshop--to become a theater, a scene and its staging" (p. 55). (And it should probably add, only to be obstinate, that factory, workshop, theater are not metaphors here but real forms or functions of the unconscious.)


Father v. Son


NBOedipusX OedipusX
Next: scenes


2005 & Then
topics: shakespeare * plays * shows * classics : dramatic literature I + dramaturgy & playwrighting * mini-history *
Top Ten Quotes

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.”


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

By Joe S. 

Oh accursed one,
The unwanted son 
Oedipus the cursed king
What sad news you bring
That you have blinded yourself so?
Where shall you go?

Your father died
By your own hands.
Such a sad tale
That spread throughout lands.

Oedipus, accursed one,
We are sad of your fall. 
We cry, though,
For it was one no one could stall.
Apollo deemed it so.

Your mother and father determined you should go,
So you were sent to a land so you would not know. 
Yet, you return.
Your feet make time churn
As your rage seems to continue to burn.

Your mother lies dead,
Hanging from her head.
You do not know what to do, 
But you know this is because of you.
So you are now blind,
Your soul is in a bind,
One of a kind.
Now the sun shall never shine.

Oh blind one,
Who used to be king,
Can you now see 
That the freedom bells ring?
Your pain is now over;
The kingship is gone.
No longer do you have the crown of thorns you used to don.

Go forth and see 
What no man can see,
For, my friend, you are now free.

Oedipus' Curse

by Jason C.

On Thebes, a curse has been brought upon the city.
Oedipus Rex, a hero, expresses his pity,
And vows to catch whoever killed the ex-King Laius,
Which would end this curse which was so pious.
He summons Tiresias, a prophet who's blind, 
But he has true sight in his mind.
"The killer is you," says the blind prophet.
He ended up proving that he was da' bomb
Oedipus killed his dad and married his mom!

Oedipus doesn't believe what the blind prophet say.
He gets enraged and orders Tiresius away.
The chorus wonders what the truth is. 
Oedipus says that Creon is ruthless 
And accuses him of hatching a plot.
Creon says, "What the? No I'm not!" 
He says that usurping the throne wouldn't help him.
Soon the details will surface a tad.
Oedipus married his mom and killed his dad!

Jocasta, who's both the queen and Oedipus' wife,
Says that many men took her husband's life.
Oedipus still wants to hear
The account of a shepherd who was near The scene of the killing, but he doesn't want to speak.
But when threatened with death, the info he will leak!
The shepherd admits that a long time back 
He was supposed to leave a baby tacked
To part of a mountain top.
But he pitied the baby and put the plan to a stop.
Oedipus married his mom, and killed his pop!

The shepherd tells Oedipus one more thing:
Oedipus is the baby of the Queen and ex-King! 
Well, now to the characters all becomes clear.
Oedipus is overcome by horror and fear. 
Soon, in a fit, Jocasta commits suicide.
And Oedipus is so horrified,
That he takes Jocasta's pins, and pokes his own eyes out!
He never again wanted to see the ones that he cared about,
Because he accidentally got them all cursed.
To look them in the eyes would make him too sad. 
Oedipus married his mom and killed his dad!

Oh! he begged Creon to make him pay,
For the crime that he committed on that fateful day.
For an answer, to Apollo, Creon will turn.
The chorus muses on Oedipus' downfall. 
He was once a hero; now he's zero.
He was great, but now he lost it all! 
The irony started when he was just a lad.
Oedipus married his mom and killed his dad! 
"Oedipus" : mini-theatre history
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