Preview: Oedipus Loves You, Riverside Studios, London
The mother of all plays – in a modern style
Wednesday 30 January 2008
If ever a dysfunctional family needed therapy, it's the one in Sophocles' and Seneca's Oedipus plays. So the Dublin-based company Pan Pan Theatre's raunchy Oedipus Loves You, based on and inspired by Sophocles and Seneca and the writings of Freud, is apt.
Oedipus Loves You is set not in the plague-ridden city of Thebes, but in an an aluminium house, designed by the sculptor Andrew Clancy, in modern suburbia. The play centres on Oedipus, who kills his father and marries his mother. The blind soothsayer Tiresias is now a psychoanalyst.
"Oedipus finds out in family therapy that he killed his father and is sleeping with his mother. He keeps asking who did it. He is chasing himself," says the play's co-writer and director, Gavin Quinn.
"The play looks at the historical curiosity of the Oedipus myth and its relevance for our anxious age, and the reflection of our own fears in Oedipus' situation. Are we more interested in survival than truth, at this particular juncture of our evolutionary psychological state?" asks Quinn.
Oedipus Loves You debuted at Dublin's Smock Alley Theatre in October 2006 and was nominated for the Best Theatre Script gong at the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild's inaugural ZeBBie awards. Pan Pan's previous productions include a Mandarin-language adaptation of Synge's The Playboy of the Western World in Beijing and a stage version of Lars Von Trier's film The Idiots.
The cast of five actors – Bush Moukarzel (Oedipus), Ned Dennehy (Teresias), Gina Moxley (Jocasta), Ruth Negga (Antigone) and Dylan Tighe (Creon) – bring the complicated family history up to date in new settings such as the breakfast table and the back-garden barbecue.
Quinn directs some scenes live through head-sets. "It creates a different quality to performance when the actors speak the lines they hear and interpret my tone depending on the audience's mood rather than learn the lines," he says.
8 to 24 February (020-8237 1111)
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