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It’s a tragedy that blinds

By Emmelia Georgiou

As part of the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama, Theatro Dentro presents Oedipus the King, by Sophocles. Their first time in the festival, Theatro Dendro promises three nights of personal freedom, power and divine will.

Sophocles is considered to be one of the great ancient Greek tragedians. He is also known for the two sequels of this play, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone. These plays follow the fall of the great king Oedipus and later the tragedies that his children suffer.

Translated by Valentina Eftivoulou and directed by Andy Papadimitriou, the cast includes popular Stavros Louras as old Oedipus, the priest and Teiresias; Koullis Nicolaou as middle-aged Oedipus, Creon and Therapon; and Giorgos Kyriakou as young Oedipus, Creon and the messengers; and Stela Fyrogeni as Jocasta.

King Oedipus has a complex. No, wait. He has a problem. Aware that a terrible curse has befallen Thebes he sends his brother-in-law Creon to seek the advice of Apollo. Creon informs Oedipus that the curse will be lifted if the murderer of Laius – the former king – is found and prosecuted. (Laius was murdered many years before at a crossroads).

Oedipus dedicates himself to the discovery and prosecution of Lauis’ murderer. Oedipus subjects a series of unwilling citizens to questioning, including blind prophet Teiresias. Teiresias, informs Oedipus that Oedipus himself killed Laius. This news really bothers Oedipus but his wife Jocasta tells him not to believe in prophets since they’ve been wrong before.

She gives the example of the time when she and King Laius had a son who was prophesised to kill Laius and sleep with her. Well, she and Laius had the child killed, so obviously that prophecy didn’t come true.

Jocasta’s story doesn’t comfort Oedipus. As a child, an old man told him that he was adopted, and that he would eventually kill his biological father and sleep with his biological mother. Not to mention, Oedipus once killed a man at a crossroads… which sounds a lot like the way Laius died.

Jocasta urges Oedipus not to look into the past any further, but he ignores her. Oedipus goes on to question a messenger and a shepherd, both of whom have information about how Oedipus was abandoned as an infant and adopted by a new family. In a moment of insight, Jocasta realises that she is Oedipus’ mother and that Laius was his father. Horrified at what has happened, she kills herself. Shortly thereafter, Oedipus also realises that he was Laius’ murderer and that he’s been married to (and having children with) his mother. In horror and despair, he gouges his eyes out and is exiled from Thebes.

Oedipus the King
Performance of the play by Sophocles. July 16. Skali Aglantzias, Nicosia. 9pm. €10/5. Tel: 22-462233
July 21. Ancient Odeon, Paphos. 9pm. €10/5. Tel: 26-932017
July 23. Curium Ancient Theatre, Episkopi, Limassol. 9pm. €10/5. Tel: 70-002414

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