Indiana Repertory Theatre takes on timeless tragedy of Oedipus with modern touches
For the fifth production in IRT’s 50th Anniversary Season, the Theatre will stage a modern adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy Oedipus, complemented by live music onstage. Directed by IRT’s Playwright-in-Residence James Still, the show will run on the OneAmerica Mainstage February 22 – March 18, 2023. This compelling story of fate, human nature, and the devastating peril of secrets was written by Sophocles and adapted by David Daniel, an actor, director, and US Army veteran.
“There is so much in this play. There is a murder mystery, a love story between a leader and his people, a treatise on hubris, a debate of divine morality, a tug of war between Fate and Free Will, and so much more,” said adapter David Daniel.
The original text of this adaptation, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, is widely considered the finest of all Greek tragedies. It is thought to have been written and first performed around 429 BCE. The story follows Oedipus, an extraordinary hero who is courageous, flawed, determined to do what he must to protect his community—even if it means his own undoing.
“The play is a study in leadership, and since we live in a country so riven by opposing views of what constitutes good leadership, this is a particularly timely debate,” said Margot Lacy Eccles Artistic Director Janet Allen. “For many years I have searched for a translation/adaptation that would meet us where we are, and about a year ago, I finally found this extremely sleek and actable version that makes the story spring to life in thrilling ways.”
Helping bring this story to life is Indianapolis native, actor David Alan Anderson, who will play the title character of Oedipus. Over the years, IRT audiences have seen him in The Reclamation of Madison Hemings, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder, Fences, Julius Caesar, A Christmas Carol, and many others. Joining Anderson onstage will be a few other familiar faces, including local favorites Ryan Artzberger and Jan Lucas, along with Mary Beth Fisher, who has performed in two of James Still’s original works at the IRT, and Trieu Tran, who was in The Chinese Lady earlier this season.
“I’ve discovered that the ways that fate and free will are emotionally at war with one another in Oedipus aren’t that far from our modern-day struggles with conflicting extremes,” Director James Still said. “I urge you to watch/listen/feel the story of Oedipus as it unfolds with unrelenting directness.”
The IRT will host multiple Talk Backs and Community Conversations during the production. For information on additional programming surrounding the run of Oedipus, please visit irtlive.com.