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Directing “Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex”

Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex is a classic tragedy that can be received by the public in any setting because its concerns are timeless. The central themes can revolve around dichotomy, including the image of light as the idea of knowledge and darkness as ignorance. In the original play, all characters’ worship Apollo, the Greek god of the sun (Akhter et al. 13). Thus, one can focus on the idea that the sun does not shine above the stage when people are not aware of their fate, but the light seeps through the cracks as the truth comes out. In the end, the light blinds the Oedipus who has realized that the prophecy that he wanted to escape came true. The setting is modern, and the kingdom is replaced by an American corporation – to retain the hierarchy and succession of the rule. Laius and Jocasta believe in fate, and their child is prophesized to overthrow his father. Oedipus slays the king and falls in love with Jocasta, becoming a new CEO. The corporate environment resembles that of a monarchy, with the CEO having significant power.

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The sets can resemble offices and corridors where rumors spread the news and sew doubt into Oedipus. All actors wear reserved business clothing depending on their position, except the prophet who dresses like a modern oracle. The sets, however, are illuminated more and more throughout the play, creating shadows and interfering with the company’s work. One can reach this with changing the brightness of office lamps which brake when Oedipus blinds himself. The central role of Oedipus is played by Michael Shannon, an actor who has had very intense performances. Christopher Eccleston takes the role of Creon – he is an actor with experience in both television shows and theater productions. Jocasta is not a young woman, and such actresses as Helen Mirren can fit this role.

Work Cited

Akhter, Javed, et al. “Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex: A Deconstructive Study.” Advances in Language and Literary Studies, vol. 6, no. 5, 2015, pp. 9-15.

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