The Oedipus Plays

Saturday, 28 September, 1996

The first story tells of how Oedipus unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. On discovering this, Oedipus blinds himself and is sent into exile from Thebes.

The second story shows Oedipus arriving in Colonus with his two daughters. He asks the king of Colonus to let him have refuge there. The King allows him to stay, and protects him from one of his sons who wants his father to return to Thebes to help him win the battle for King of Thebes against his other son. Oedipus does not want to return and wishes to have nothing to do with his sons after they did nothing to stop him getting exiled.

The plays were performed with all the Greek traditions, wearing of masks, synchronised movements and dialogue between each other directed to the audience.

These are both very tragic Greek plays written in 425 BC by Sophocles. This new translation by Ranjit Bolt captures the torment and despair of Oedipus perfectly. This is helped with the superb performance of Alan Howard, who is in my opinion a great actor on stage. I normally love watching Howard for his facial expressions, which are a dream . But because of the wearing of masks, we are unable to see this. However we now have the chance to really appreciate his mesmerising voice, a gem, I could listen to him all night. His performance was worth the ticket price a lone!

(Darren Dalglish)

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