Review: OEDIPUS REX at Company Theatre

The production is playing until February 25.

By: Feb. 18, 2024
Review: OEDIPUS REX at Company Theatre
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“Oedipus Rex” is about as far from a new work as possible, having first been performed around 1,600 years ago. While stories of this caliber and place in the literary canon can often feel untouchable or daunting, The Company Theatre proves that they are up for the challenge in their newest production to grace the stage the downtown Temple Theatre venue.

“Oedipus Rex” is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed around 429 BCA. In it, a priest (Adam Bresette) and his followers ask Oedipus (Ron Dufort) to find a way to save them from the plague. Creon (Shane Blauvelt) returns and reports that they need to find the murderer of Laius, the former king. Oedipus swears he will find and punish the man. He summons Tiresias (Ian Cannioto), the famous seer, to tell what he knows. At first Tiresias refuses to speak, but when pressed, he tells Oedipus that the murderer he seeks is Oedipus himself. The king and the chorus refuse to believe the prophet, and Oedipus accuses Tiresias and Creon of plots and corruption.

Jocasta (Yakira Capri Coleman) intervenes and tells Oedipus not to worry. Oedipus starts to ask questions about Laius’s death, and the circumstances begin to sound familiar. But a Messenger comes from Corinth to say that Oedipus’s father is dead, so he doesn’t need to worry about the prophecy. Oedipus asks about his mother, since there’s that other part of the prophecy, and the Messenger tells him he was adopted. Jocasta realizes the truth—that Oedipus is her son as well as her husband—and tells Oedipus to stop the interrogations. He doesn’t listen, and an eyewitness, the Herdsman who rescued him when he was an infant, confirms that he was Laius and Jocasta’s child, and that Oedipus killed Laius.A Servant reports the suicide of Jocasta, and Oedipus emerges from the house having blinded himself. He seeks exile and mourns with his daughters.

“Oedipus Rex” is no small undertaking; it’s a story comprised of dense language, heady themes, and iconic characters. The Company Theatre’s cast is up to the challenge, featuring commendable performances from the full spectrum of performers, particularly Ron Dufort, whose Oedipus is focused, sincere, and passionate. On the visual side, CT’s tendency to lean towards simple set designs once again serves this production well, with the staircase backdrop adding a sense of intimidation and foreboding but also allowing the audience to focus on the story and themes.

The Company Theatre’s production of “Oedipus Rex” is intense and captivating, a commendable rendition of an age-old classic. It’s playing until February 25, for tickets and more information, click the button below.


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