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OEDIPUS SCHMOEDIPUS Comes to Union Theatre House, The University of Melbourne.

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OEDIPUS SCHMOEDIPUS Comes to Union Theatre House, The University of Melbourne.

Democratic theatrical extravaganza 2,500 years in the making Oedipus Schmoedipus makes its return to the stage as part of Asia TOPA from 18 - 28 March at Union Theatre House, The University of Melbourne.

From the creators of provocative Australian collective post (Zoë Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose), this comedy bloodbath is a joyful, dark, hilarious and confronting performance about theatre and death: real death, fake death, and death as portrayed in the world's great theatre classics.

Starring Mish Grigor and Shelly Lauman, the two pile up classic dramatic death scenes into an engaging spectacle of glee-ridden blood and gore, resurrecting again and again through multiple murders, suicides and accidents. Each night, the actors are joined on stage by 25 volunteers.

In 2018, Asia TOPA supported a commission by Freespace, West Kowloon working alongside Hong Kong Repertory Theatre e??ae??e??a??aoe? to develop a Cantonese translation. The program was invited to join the Hong Kong International Black Box Festival in the same year.

Co-curator of the festival as well as Assistant Artistic Director of Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Fung Wai Hang explains: "I fell in love with the production right after I saw it presented at APAM 2016. I proposed to create a Cantonese version because finding English speaking participants in Hong Kong would limit the range of possibilities such as age, profession and background, which would reduce the impact of the fundamental idea of the piece that it hopes to approach the most ordinary people of the city," says Fung.

The English language version premiered at Belvoir in 2014 before touring nationally and, in a Spanish language version, to Chile. Grigor and Coombs Marr travelled to Hong Kong to co-direct the Cantonese language version with the Hong Kong creative team, which premiered for Hong Kong International Black Box Festival in 2018.

" Working across cultures means it's never a 1:1 ratio - things cannot be directly translated in language. So we had to get creative, share stories, and think about the bridges between Hong Kong and Australia," says Grigor.

Grigor continues: "We had to reimagine how our work could speak to people in Hong Kong and the wider Cantonese-speaking diaspora. A big theme running through the show is our inheritance of the culture from Europe; mostly from England. This is something shared with Hong Kong; also a former British colony.

It became a process where we questioned together what is 'high art', what makes a play relevant 500 years after the playwright's death, and which ones we still really love. I'm hoping people come along to both versions to join in this process of comparing, contrasting, and laughing with us," says Grigor.

Hong Kong Repertory Theatre's production of Oedipus Schmoedipus features ManMan Kwok and Man Sui Hing who are joined each evening by 25 Cantonese-speaking local volunteer performers.

"I think this is a successful example of cultural exchange and collaboration that brought artists from two cities together who at the end of it all, became friends," says Fung.

For straddling live art, theatre and contemporary performance, Oedipus Schmoedipus has had audiences around the world in stitches and in tears.

See one show, two languages, two versions.

Bookings at asiatopa.com.au


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