by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
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Extraordinarily intimate, Oedipus Machina, directed by Ron Sossi, and inspired by Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of the Sophocles text, opened this past weekend at The Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles.  It is a game changer. 

Spoken in contemporary language, and set in an ancient mysterious place, Oedipus Machina begins smack in the middle of this archetypal tragedy and ends with Oedipus’ banishment. Oedipus Machina focuses on the prime character, and his journey to ultimate self-destruction as a man in search of truth. 

This piece is endowed with many moving stage parts, and intriguing cinema projections that lead our attention into the story to become part of an inner circle rather than just along as voyeurs, thanks to set design by Keith Mitchell, lighting by Phillip Powers, sound by Christopher Moscatiello and video by Diana Cignoni.  These elements alone so dramatically intensified the narrative, it brought about an “other-worldly” state while galvanizing a fiercely strong, in-sync chorus who set a definitively potent physical, verbal and emotional pace, grounding the way for banner performances by Joshua Wolf Coleman (Oedipus), Martin Rayner (Creon) and Lorinne Vozoff (Tirisias).

If “the truth will set you free,” for Oedipus it is a brutal privilege. 

A plague grips the city of Thebes. Desperate to save his people, King Oedipus sends a messenger to the oracle at Delphi and discovers that the city’s salvation lies in finding and punishing the murderer of the former king, Laius, who was brutally slain by a stranger at a crossroads years ago. When Oedipus orders a manhunt, he unknowingly sets the wheels of his own destruction in motion.

Against all warning by prophet, by brother, by wife and by his people, he gives in to a voracious ego and a violent appetite for “the Light” – all  but for the truth of his real parentage.

Ultimately, it is “the Dark” that he must wither into. For like the Adam and Eve story, and the bite of the apple, when the truth of Oedipus’ real birth is revealed, he and his people gain a heavy, unbearable knowledge, and have lost their innocence forever.  

Creative, inspired and dramatically accessible.  Not to be missed this season!

Only one detractor – it’s a bit too long.  Shortened by 10-20 minutes it would easily still tell an effective, powerful story. 90 minutes with no intermission had theatre goers squirming just a little in their seats.

Everything else about this play is outstanding: costume design is by Audrey Eisner, assisted by Beth Miller; make-up design is by Catelyn Chism; props design is by Katherine S. Hunt; musical advisor is Barbara Rottman; and choreography advisor is Debbie McMahon. 

oedipus machinaOedipus Machina 

Inspired by Ellen Mc Laughlin‘s adaptation of the Sophocles text

Directed by Ron Sossi

Starring Alan Abelew, Brent Christensen, Joshua Wolf Coleman, Riley Rose Critchlow, J. Carlos Flores, Martin Rayner, Mariana Montes Sandoval, Cary Thompson,Tina Van Berckelaer, Lorinne Vozoff, Terry Woodberry, Dey Young

Produced by Ron Sossi and Barbara Mueller-Wittmann in association with Gloria Levy

Presented by Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Ron Sossi, artistic director

Now Playing until Juy 26

Wednesdays at 8 p.m.: June 17 and July 8 ONLY

Thursdays at 8 p.m.: June 25, July 2, July 16 and July 23 ONLY

Fridays at 8 p.m.: June 5, 12, 19*, 26; July 3, 10, 17*, 24

Saturdays at 8 p.m.: June 6, 13, 20, 27; July 11, 18, 25 (dark July 4)

Sundays at 2 p.m.: June 7, 14, 21, 28; July 5, 12, 19, 26

*The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.

WHERE:

Odyssey Theatre
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025

HOW:

(310) 477-2055 ext. 2 or www.OdysseyTheatre.com

Visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/OdysseyTheatre

Follow them on Twitter: @OdysseyTheatre_

TICKET: $34

Four “Tix for $10” performances: Friday, June 5; Friday, June 19 (wine night); Thursday, July 2; and Wednesday, July 8

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