Randall Duk Kim & Anne Occhiogrosso Headline Cent. Stage Co's Staged Reading Of OEDIPUS REX
Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso headline Centenary Stage Company's (CSC) presentation of a free staged reading of Sophocles' drama Oedipus Rex on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 PM in the Kutz Theatre at the Lackland Performing Arts Center, Hackettstown, New Jersey. The September 19 reading and the master classes that precede and follow it marks the first installment of the 2018 Gates Ferry Lecture Series: "What is Truth?" The September 19 reading will be the first of three presentations, all featuring Kim and Occhiogrosso, which also includes a staged reading of scenes from Shakespeare's King Lear on November 14 and a full stage production of Henrik Ibsen's Enemy of The People from February 15-March 3, 2019. To reserve tickets, please call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 0900 or visit www.centenarystageco.org.
The action of Oedipus Rex concerns Oedipus, the King of Thebes. Prior to the start of the play, Oedipus has unwittingly fulfilled a prophecy that he would kill his father, Laius (the previous king) and marry his mother, Jocasta, whom Oedipus took as his queen after solving the legendary Riddle of the Sphinx. The action of Sophocles' play concerns Oedipus' search for the murderer of Laius in order to end the plague which has ravaged Thebes, unaware that the killer he is looking for is actually himself.
Kim and Occhiogrosso originally proposed the 2018 Gate Ferry Lecture Series, "What is Truth? And Does It Matter?" with the goal to encourage a public dialogue surrounding this most serious of contemporary issues. Following the reading of Oedipus Rex, Kim and Occhiogrosso and members of the Centenary University academic community will lead an in-depth audience discussion of the play and its relevance to today's world.
Occhiogrosso states, "In this time of 'Fake News,' and 'Alternative Truths' and convenient omission of the facts, one is forced to ask 'What is Truth? And Does It Really Matter?' Kim adds, "Both these questions have served as the core inquiry of the world's greatest and most popular playwrights over the past two thousand years. The theatre allows us to see man's encounter with this mightiest and perplexing concept. We can see how they encounter it, try to escape it, hide from it, expose it and deny it, and how it affects their lives and the consequences endured through its encounter."
The September 19 reading will be preceded by a master class on the weekends of September 8th and 9th and September 15th and 16th from 1-4 PM. Twenty five interested participants selected from the University and the community will read and explore Oedipus Rex under Kim and Occhiogrosso's guidance with a focus on how the play tackles the question "What is Truth?" and how specifically it addresses the concept of "Truth Un-Avoided."
Members of the community interested in attending the master classes should call the Centenary Stage Company box office directly at (908) 979 - 0900 to register. Select Oedipus Rex master class participants will be invited to join Kim and Occhiogrosso as members of the chorus in the September 19th public reading.
For over 40 years, Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso have devoted their lives to the classical theatre through acting, directing teaching, commissioning new translations of classical works and developing a singular approach to classical text interpretation which combines, research, training and production. This life-long dedication to classical theatre led to their founding, in 1979, along with founding partner Charles J. Bright, now deceased, of American Players Theatre, Spring Green, WI, the only professional, outdoor classical rotating repertory theatre company in America at that time. Under their combined leadership, American Players Theatre received a Tony Award nomination in 1985 for "Outstanding Regional Theatre in America."
Winner of the OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence, Kim began his early career with the legendary Joe Papp and the New York Public Theatre's Shakespeare Festival and performed leading classical roles at some of America's finest regional theatres including Hamlet, Shylock, King Lear, Falstaff and Oedipus Rex, among many others. He has been seen on Broadway in Flower Drum Song, Golden Child and The King and I but perhaps is most universally recognized as "The Keymaker" in the film Matrix Reloaded and the voice of "Oogway" in the DreamWorks' animated film Kung Fu Panda. Mr. Kim's TV and film work includes the BBC Special Prisoner in Time, Anna and the King, Memoirs of a Geisha, Dragonball Ninja Assassin, Elementary and John Wick. Most recently, Kim starred in Centenary Stage Company's production of Art, directed by Anne Occhiogrosso.
In 2016, Kim and Occhiogrosso returned to Wisconsin for The Pleasure of His Company: Our 40 Year Love Affair with William Shakespeare" for one SRO performance at the Wisconsin Union Theatre at UW Wisconsin / Madison. Earlier at CSC, Kim and Occhiogrosso headlined the two-hander Then Came Each Actor, a celebration of the lives and work of some of the theatre's most legendary actors, at CSC in 2015.
As creators of the Centenary Stage Company series "Great Authors Out Loud," Kim and Occhiogrosso have offered readings from authors Edgar Alan Poe, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker and James Thurber and classical theatre playwrights William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Moliere, Chekhov and Ibsen which has drawn a loyal and enthusiastic following since 2012. In addition to the readings, they have taught a Shakespeare Intensive Course at Centenary College in which students studied one play over a thirteen-week period. The last three semesters focused on Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and King Lear.
Director Anne Occhiogrosso received national attention for her body of work at American Players Theatre where she was co-artistic director. An acclaimed director, dramaturg, acting coach and actress, her focus has always been classical theatre with a special emphasis on the works of William Shakespeare. At the American Players Theatre, she directed 16 Shakespearean plays along with works of by Moliere, Ibsen, Plautus, and Chekhov. She also performed the roles of The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Gertrude in Hamlet, Natalya in The Proposal, Madame Arkadina in The Seagull, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex and Anna Petrovna in Ivanov, a production which was co-directed by Morris Carnovsky and Phoebe Brand who have served as career mentors to both Kim and Occhiogrosso. She has also taught at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and the New York Shakespeare Festival. Professional partners onstage for over four decades, Occhiogrosso and Kim are married in real life.
The Oedipus Rex staged reading on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 PM is free to the public and will be held in the Kurtz Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. Due to limited seating, advance reservations are highly recommended. For more information about the Oedipus Rex reading, all Gates Ferry Lecture Series' "What is Truth?" events or to reserve tickets, call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 - 0900 visit centenarystageco.org.
The Centenary Stage Company box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ on the campus of Centenary University. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 - 5PM and two hours prior to every scheduled performance event. Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. "Like" and "follow" to receive the latest in Centenary Stage Company news and special offers.