Oedipus Rex is a play written by Sophocles and is considered by many scholars as a masterpiece of ancient Greek tragedy. The play premiered around 429 BC in the theatre of Dionysus, Athens, which was famed for its production of renown plays during the set period. The play was first constructed in the Greek language, with the setting being Thebes and was part of a trilogy of plays relating to the story of Oedipus. There have been several replicas plays in today’s modern world with production director differing in terms of the screenplay.
This replica production of Oedipus would be staged in a proscenium stage. A proscenium stage is set in front of the stage and is used as the acting space. The stage has an arch where a curtain is hoisted to act as a shield when the cast in the background is changing the scene (Kennedy, 2018). This stage setting was common in the classical Greek era. This theatrical space is most appropriate for the play due to the changing of scenes as the variety of scenes require different backgrounds. The stage also offers a pit for live music or a chorus and a fly tower that allows for the movement of scenery and better lighting. These elements are crucial while performing the play.
The theme of the play is fate versus free will. The main question rising throughout the play is whether Oedipus has a choice in the matter at hand, does he have free will or is everything he is witnessing predetermined. There is a force of fate that is working to prove that man cannot change his or her destiny. In the play, two scenarios show the depth of this theme of whether destiny is inevitable. The first prophecy received by King Laius of Thebes and the second by Oedipus. The human characters’ work to prevent the prophecies from happening to no avail as the foreseen events come to pass.
The central symbol for production will be the realism style designed to show the sight and blindness of the characters. This symbol has been a reoccurring reference by the characters in the play with suggestions of willful ignorance within the play. Oedipus is described as one who has a clear sight and clever; however, he is blind to his life situations. He only begins to see the events unfolding before his eyes after the intervention of a blind oracle, Tiresias. After he discovers the predicament he has gotten himself into, he blinds himself. The production is set to show the audience how the truth can be in front of us, but a person has no idea that it is the truth or chooses to ignore it, terming it as absurd. This is because a person chooses the false version compared to the truth, as it is hard to bear.
The play is set out in the Golden age of the Ancient Greek era, which occurred between 430-426BC (Beye, 2019). This is due to the period also witnessing the rise of classical Greek drama in which the play was designed to be performed. The significant characteristics of this era’s play performance were the tight construction of the play where unexplained events were left for human interpretation, mounting of tension towards the audience, and the use of dramatic devices. This era signifies the interactions between human nature and the gods. Scholars in this age had begun questioning the legitimacy of the prophets and the role of traditional gods in their everyday life. This era signifies the determination of man to free himself from the shackles of predetermined life enabled by the gods.
The setting of the character’s costumes will seek to have a replica of the costumes worn during the early Greek period. Most lead roles are royalty; hence their costumes should march their status as depicted in the play. The color would be emerald with a touch of silk texture to indicate power and wealth among the royalties. The lights should be covered with a translucent film to soften the light and integrate well with the color of the costumes, thus reducing the color splash on stage. A green light can be used to show the plague that had fell on Thebes.
The dream cast will involve Nicholas Cage as Oedipus, Sandra Bullock as Jocasta, Russel Crowe as High priest, Leonardo DiCaprio as Creon, Morgan Freeman as Teiresias, Robert De Niro as First Messenger, Tom Hanks as Servant, Steve Buscemi as the Second messenger, Natalie Portman as Antigone, Emma Watson as Ismene, female chorus as servants and men chorus as the main chorus. The reason for choosing this cast is due to its diversity in traits to be displayed on the set. Each character has a unique character development design for entertaining the audience thoroughly.
Beye, C. R. (2019). Ancient Greek literature and society. Cornell University Press.
Kennedy, D. (2018). The Open-Stage Movement. In The Routledge Companion to Scenography (p. 243). London: Routledge.