Presentation on theme: "Information on Greek theatre, Oedipus, & an Interview with Mr. Towers Oedipus Rex – written around 441 B.C. by Sophocles."— Presentation transcript:
Information on Greek theatre, Oedipus, & an Interview with Mr. Towers Oedipus Rex – written around 441 B.C. by Sophocles
Sophocles the Playwright Athens, Greece. Produced 100+ plays, seven of which survive today (all of which are deeply troubling). Greek culture believed that anything was possible through human effort and reason – Sophocles presented the opposite in Oedipus Rex. This play involves characters that are caught up in unsolvable dilemmas causing them to challenge their faith in the gods as well as humanity. Oedipus Rex is one of the world’s greatest tragedies.
Another Interesting Guy… Thespis – was an actor/ director/ producer. Very arrogant and wanted to stand out. He evolved the protagonist. Three actors were on stage at a time. Used chorus to connect the plot between scenes with actors. (This is where the term ‘thespian’ comes from meaning ‘actor’)
Given the form of this play, what is it telling us about the culture and point in history when it was performed? The play was performed as a celebration to Dionysus (the god of fertility, sex and theater). The event was a three-day celebration where three playwrights presented… tragedies... Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus were three of the most celebrated and successful playwrights…everyone went. It was one event that they all celebrated. –M. Towers
Also keep in mind the importance of myth in the Greek culture. Gods, heroes, and storytelling dominated their world and most of it was oral. - M. Towers
The Stage Skene (skay-nay) scene hut located on stage Periaktoi – (pear-ee-ack-toy) triangular prisms or scenery – country/city/other
Can you speak to the acting that was involved and how actors tackle a work like Oedipus today? This Greek text is extremely demanding on modern actors. Actors were very skilled and trained 2,500 years ago. They’d have to be! Some audiences were 20,000 -60,000 strong! They would need to have well trained voices and bodies in order to effectively communicate. – M. Towers
WITHOUT A MICROPHONE! That is like performing to a sold out crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden AND UP TO a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium. WITHOUT A MICROPHONE!
The Orkestra Dithyramb (dith –eh-ramb) synchronized chanting [think iambic pentameter] Chorus – singers and dancers. Few women. Dancing circle would perform on stage before actors came along. Then they got bumped to the pit. Also reduced in scope with the addition of actors. 60 40 20.
…what is difficult about directing this play? They lack a lot of what we call dramatic action! The Greeks didn’t show you much. They TALK about what has just happened but show you very little. For example: You don’t see Oedipus claw his eyes out, you hear about the aftermath be we are spared the sight of it. We want to see it! This is classic Greek theater. – M. Towers
Terms to Recap: Tragedy: a serious drama with a protagonist who struggles to achieve one thing and is ultimately unable to attain it, failing deeply. Tragic Flaw: a weakness that the protagonist has, leading to his or her downfall. In Greek tragedy this is referred to as Hamartia – (ha-mar-tia) meaning “to miss the mark” the tragic flaw causing the down fall.
The Challenge: Oedipus Rex was a story that everyone in the audience would have known. How do you retell and make it interesting? Think Romeo & Juliet for today. Consider how the audience’s previous knowledge of the story would increase the level of tragedy.
The Play Begins… Sophocles opens his play with a relatable issue to the people of Athens: a plague! Setting: Ancient Athens (5 th century B.C.) The city of Thebes is ravaged by a seemingly never-ending plague and the people beg their King Oedipus to save them. King Oedipus sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi for answers.
Continued… The Oracle tells Creon that the plague of Thebes will end when the murderer of the previous king, King Lauis, has been punished. King Oedipus tells the people he will apprehend the murderer and save Thebes. This will set him on his course of Perepeteia – (pear-eh-peh-tay-uh) to achieve the exact opposite of what one sets out to achieve. Eventually, leading to Anagnorisis – (ahnag- nor-isis) the realization.
Main Characters Oedipus – protagonist, name means swollen foot, suffers from Hubris – (hew-bris) overbearing pride. He is a good King and cares for his people but again, is full of himself. Jocasta – the wife and mother of Oedipus, tries to protect Oedipus from the truth. Seems to change her opinion on whether to trust or ignore the Oracle.
Main Characters Teiresias – a blind prophet who tells Oedipus he will become blind and poor. One of the most powerful characters. Theban Elders – They honor King Oedipus and the gods. When they speak they reinforce their support for the king and the importance of respecting the gods.
Main Characters Creon – brother in law of Oedipus. Oedipus fears Creon wants the crown but Creon denies this. Messenger 1: Tells King Oedipus that King Polybos of Corinth is dead and that he was not his real father. Baby Oedipus had been given to the messenger by someone from Lauis’ household.
Main Characters Sheperd of Lauis: After Oedipus threatens his life, he admits giving Baby Oedipus to Messenger 1 after Lauis and Jocasta told him to put the baby in the woods. Messenger 2: Describes Jocasta’s suicide, predicts the people of Thebes will suffer because of King Oedipus’ sins.
And the Chorus… Two groups called Strophe and Antistrophe. Their chants recap what has happened and ask questions to the characters that have not been answered. Often it sounds like they are speaking their thoughts aloud.
Can you explain the Strophe and Antistrophe a little bit more? Literally, the strophe and anti-strophe are (poetic) stanzas. With regards to dramatic movement within them, the chorus would have moved to CONTRAST form one another. The antistrophe was an answer or a response to the strophe and therefore the movement would have mirrored and supported that concept. – M. Towers
Concepts that will turn into Themes: Power of the gods Quest for identity and truth Nature of innocence and guilt Nature of moral responsibility The ability to control one’s fate
Imagery: References to light and darkness to predict the future References to being able to see and blindness