OEDIPE by Olivier Kemeid, adapted from Sophocles

Compagnie José Besprosvany / IDEA asbl, Belgium

21 July, Makarios III Amphitheatre, Nicosia
22 July, Makarios III Amphitheatre, Nicosia

The famous Mexican director and choreographer José Besprosvany participates at the Festival for the second time, after his magnificent production Prometheus Bound (15th International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama 2011) and presents Oedipe, a Compagnie José Besprosvany/IDEA asbl production, co-produced with the Theatre Royal du Parc, Brussels and the Theatre d’Ivry Antoine Vitez, Paris.

In this faithful take on Sophocles’ tragedy by writer Olivier Kemeid, José Besprosvany sets out to enrich once again the stage through his company’s hallmark juxtaposition of text, music, and dance. Oedipus was highly praised in Belgium and France.

Plot
Oedipus grows up in the court of Polybus, King of Corinth, as his son. One day someone tells him that he is not Polybus’ real son. Polybus’ assurances are not enough to convince Oedipus who seeks the truth at the Oracle of Delphi. The oracle that he gets is terrible. He is told that he will kill his father and marry his mother and have children with her. This is enough for him to forget his previous problem and take the decision to leave Corinth. On his way he gets into a fight with a man and kills him. He continues his journey until he reaches Thebes. There he solves the riddle of the Sphinx, saves the city from its sufferings and marries queen Jocasta and has four children with her.

Prosperity does not last long for Thebes is struck by plague. Oedipus takes action to save his city again. In his effort to discover the murderer of the previous King, Laius, he discovers that he is his son, that he killed him, married Jocasta, his mother and had children with her. Thus the ancient prophecy has been fulfilled in all its dreadful detail. Jocasta in her horror hangs herself and Oedipus plucks out his eyes. Then he imposes on himself the penalty of exile which he had promised for the murderer of Laius.

Script: Olivier Kemeid, adapted from Sophocles
Direction, choreography: José Besprosvany
Video: Yannick Jacquet
Music, sound design: Koenraad Ecker
Costume design: Bert Menzel
Lighting design: Marc Lhommel
Assistant Visual Designer, Assistant Dramaturg:
Francois Prodhomme
Assistant Set Designer: Richard Klein
Assistant on tour: Martin Coiffier
Video technician and general coordination: Yannick de Coster
Light technician: Caspar Langhoff
Sound technician: Cédric Chotte

Oedipus: Gauthier Jansen
Jocaste, the Sphinx: Isabelle Roelandt
Creon: Georges Siatidis
The young man: Toussaint Colombani
The old man, Tiresias, Laios, Polybus: Charles Cornette

Dancers: Mylena Leclercq, Fernando Martín, Yann-Gaël Monfort, François Prodhomme, Louis Richard

A Compagnie José Besprosvany/IDEA asbl production. Co-produced with the Theatre Royal du Parc, Brussels, and the Theatre d’Ivry Antoine Vitez, Paris. Subsidized by the Dance and Music Departments of the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels French Community, with additional support from the WBI, WBTD, SACD, and the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels.

 

Director’s note
[…] However, this unity only works through the increasingly oppressive evocations of the past, which remerges and becomes irrefutably clearer as the story goes on. The ghosts of the past loom and throw light on the terrible curse haunting the city, ultimately blurring the markers of present, blackening the future and pushing Oedipus to live in the darkness, blind and miserable.

In staging Olivier Kemeid’s current adaptation, which modernizes yet remains very faithful to Sophocles’ text, I am continuing the connecting thread that has run through my company’s work for years, that is to say the exploration of possible meeting points between text, music and movement. In doing so, I take up two disciplines that intrigue me: shadow theatre, which is used in the Far East to tell mythical stories blending text and music, and the use of light and shadow in contemporary art.

In my production, five actors play out the tragedy of Oedipus in the present time and five dancers give life to this obscure past that gradually emerges, using an ingenious theatrical device that remains to be developed. […]

José Besprosvany

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