Ron Sossi to Direct OEDIPUS MACHINA for Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 5/30-7/26

Director Ron Sossi puts a unique stamp on Ellen McLaughlin's acclaimed adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus in a new production from Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and KOAN. Oedipus Machina opens on May 30 at the Odyssey Theatre in West L.A.

Although McLaughlin's acclaimed Oedipus is contemporary in feel and language, Sossi's vision sets the action in some ancient and mysterious civilization - is it Aztec, Incan or Egyptian? Or perhaps there's a hint of the unearthly about it?

"The story is ancient, archetypal - it could happen anywhere," says Sossi. "We've renamed it Oedipus Machina because the central image will be a machine that represents the intrepid and relentless movement of fate."

A plague grips the city of Thebes. Desperate to save his people, King Oedipus sends a messenger to the oracle at Delphi and discovers that the city's salvation lies in finding and punishing the murderer of the former king, Laius, who was brutally slain by a stranger at a crossroads years ago. When Oedipus orders a manhunt, he unknowingly sets the wheels of his own destruction in motion.

There are multiple versions of the Oedipus myth, which was dramatized more often than any other legend and is second only to the Trojan War as a subject for Greek epic poetry. Some thirteen different Greek authors, including Aeschylus and Euripides, are known to have written plays on the subject - but only the Sophocles drama has survived.

Oedipus Machina stars Joshua Wolf Coleman in the title role, with Martin Rayner as King Creon; Dey Young as Queen Jocasta; Lorinne Vozoff as the blind prophet Tiresias; Brent Christensen as the shepherd; Terry Woodberry as the messenger; and Alan Abelew, Riley Rose Critchlow, J. Carlos Flores, Mariana Montes Sandoval, Cary Thompson and Tina Van Berckelaer as members of the chorus.

Set design for Oedipus Machina is by Keith Mitchell; lighting design is by Phillip Powers; sound design is by Christopher Moscatiello; video design is by Diana Cignoni; costume design is by Audrey Eisner, assisted by Beth Miller; make-up design is by Catelyn Chism; props design is by Katherine S. Hunt; musical advisor is Barbara Rottman; and choreography advisor is Debbie McMahon. The assistant director is Evan Lorenzetti; production stage manager is Jennifer Palumbo; assistant stage manager is Jason Liska; and Ron Sossi and Barbara Mueller-Wittmann produce in association with Gloria Levy.

Ellen McLaughlin's plays include Septimus and Clarissa, Ajax in Iraq, Days and Nights Within, A Narrow Bed, Infinity's House, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Tongue of a Bird, The Trojan Women, Helen, The Persians and Oedipus. Producers include: Actors' Theater of Louisville, The Actors' Gang L.A., Classic Stage Co., N.Y., The Intiman Theater, Seattle, Almeida Theater, London, The Mark Taper Forum, L.A., the Public Theater in NYC, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The National Actors' Theater, N.Y., and The Guthrie Theater, MN, among many other venues. Grants and awards include: Great American Play Contest, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the NEA, the Writer's Award from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, the Berilla Kerr Award for playwriting, and the NEA/TCG Theater Residency Grant.

Performances of Oedipus Machina take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., May 30 through July 26. Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on June 17 and July 8; and on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on June 25, July 2, July 16 and July 23. The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show. Tickets are $34. There will be four "Tix for $10" performances on Friday, June 5; Friday, June 19 (wine night); Thursday, July 2; and Wednesday, July 8. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

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