It’s one of the most beloved plays of all time, one of those plays that simply warms the heart each time it is performed. Filled with humor, raunchiness and downright stunning visuals, Oedipus Rex is truly a classic that everybody can relate to. Whether you hold a fear of hooking up with (and marrying) your mother after killing your father, or maybe you took the whole incest thing to another level so you decide to rip your eyes out, the story applies universally to anyone.
Well, in hindsight, maybe some people don’t enjoy the play quite that much, especially since Oedipus Rex was written sometime around 400 B.C. So let’s face it, many plays considered to be classics can be rather drab and boring. Oedipus Rex is especially hated after the play has been shoved down every high schooler’s throat so educators around the world can feel at ease knowing that students have found some way to relate to an unfortunate individual named Oedipus.
Many plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, have been remade to better align with the lives and experiences of the modern audience (Romeo and Juliet was remade as West Side Story). On Dec. 11 and 12, the classic tale of Oedipus will be remade by St. Olaf’s youngest student theater organization, the Myswyken Salad Theatre Company. They will stage an original production titled Oedipus Rekt: A Comedic Adaptation of the Classic Greek Tragedy, a play that will finally satisfy the desire for a new take on the classic.
Oedipus Rekt, written and directed by Chaz Mayo ’18, will make its debut at the Flaten Art Barn on Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in what should be a revolutionary adaptation of the already hilarious tragedy. From incest to musical numbers, this play will have it all.
The play itself will reflect the actors involved, as they greatly influenced the script.
“Using an original script perhaps qualified as one of the most interesting aspects of working on Oedipus Rekt. At this age not many actors have the opportunity to pioneer a performance. Instead of using a script as written, this script was subject to change based on each actor giving us the opportunity to actually create a character,” Avery Baker ’19, who plays the shepherd, said.
Allowing the actors to shape the play allows for Oedipus Rekt to truly become its own unique play, rather than another knock-off of the original story. This allowance of tinkering and experimentation allows for characters to be shaped by the actors rather than the other way around, which is quite uncommon in a theater atmosphere.
“I think both of those aspects will come across well in the performance because one of the great blessings of working with an original script is that as much as the script gives us direction, focus and hilarious material. We’ve gotten to mold it in such a way that each role is truly tailor-made for the actor who plays it,” Bess Clement ’18, who plays Jocasta, said.
This truly leaves the door open as to what this play could become, which is an especially exciting prospect if you already find the tale of Oedipus to be engaging in its own right.
“It’s really refreshing to be able to do something that’s never been done before – you don’t come in with any preconceived notions of how the finished product should look. You get to grow this thing from the very start, and you have no idea what it’ll turn out to be. It could be an angel. It could be a monster. How exciting,” Will Ibele ’18, playing Messenger Two, said.
Whether Oedipus Rekt becomes a sensation or not is yet to be seen, but it is sure to be entertaining. What could be more exciting than a modern spin on incest? That’s right, nothing. So head on down to the Flaten Art Barn next weekend and enjoy the creative work of some of your fellow students and, more importantly, enjoy the show.