Greek Tragedy Oedipus Machina at the Odyssey Theater

It takes a certain mood to sit through a Greek tragedy in a theater, especially with everything going on in the news.

But, with Ron Sossi directing at the acclaimed Odyssey Theater, hopes were high!

The set design was breathtaking. Truly an art form in and of itself. The hanging orb reminded me of video artist Tony Oursler. (Ah, if only he had created the video clips it would have been mind-blowing!)

The “oracle” Tiresias, played wonderfully by Lorinne Vozoff, is a fascinating Greek character famous for not only clairvoyance but for being transformed into a woman for seven years (now there’s an interesting story — too bad Caitlin Jenner doesn’t act).

Tiresias waited patiently and stoically while suspended in air as the audience filled the house.  I was reminded of one of those mechanical psychics that give your fortune for a $1 (flash back to Tom Hanks in BIG).

The story began with an INCREDIBLE chorus. Possibly the best chorus I’ve ever seen in a Greek tragedy (I’ve seen a few). There were only six, but all as diverse as can be, and all so interesting to watch. (Bravo to the choreographer, too!)

All of the actors gave wonderful performances.

But the story…. ah, the story.

The first part was hard to follow – maybe it was the language. But once it got going and the audience “got” what was happening, it was a bit disappointing that Oedipus – played magnificently by Joshua Wolf Coleman — was still left in the dark. Was it his arrogance or his ignorance? Both maybe? How was it that his wife (and as we learn EARLY ON mother) Jacosta (Dey Young) didn’t whack him over the head and keep him in line. She was after all Queen, and his wife — and his momma — and she did want to keep the status quo –  so, uh, where was her power????

Or why didn’t Creon do anything for that matter? Again and again and again… and again… the audience got it. But Oedipus didn’t. (insert huge sigh here – bring back Tiresias!!)

90 minutes felt like 3 hours (with no intermission).

Back to the hanging orb (that was one of my favorite parts)…. It included a naked couple having sex. I’m not sure why it was included, as it really wasn’t necessary. And it was just a brief couple of seconds.  I mean, if you’re going to go for the gusto, make it count.  Coleman and Young had quite a bit of heat going on, too… )

ALAS….

The actors were all brilliant. Bravo to them all.

Oedipus Machina runs through August 2 at the Odyssey Theater.

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