Oedipus Rex XX/XY
March 24, 2013
Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan
It is rare to see classic Greek tragedies performed. So I was excited to see The Faux-Real Theatre Companies interpretation of this iconic work of Sophocles. And Oedipus was going to be played by a… woman. I was intrigued, to say the least. However, after seeing it, I was left divided. I found some parts to be superb, while others were under-whelming. Still, I was happy to have seen the production.
Upon entering the theater, the audience is greeted by Grecians dancing to live music, which was one of the highlights of the production. The actors moved with a sense of purpose and passed out wine (grape fruit juice) and grapes to the audience. I found the choreography to be inventive and stunning.
Finally, the music died down and we were told that we were going to see this play done, cirque ancient times. Yet, I was never quite sure whether the actors were paying homage to this style of theater or mocking it. Unfortunately, it did not seem as if Stephenie Regina, Oedipus, completely decided about this issue. Her performance, though intense and energetic, was over the top a lot of the time. I wish she would have let the style go a little and explore her character with honest emotion. I found her to be one dimensional often and almost farcical at points.
Luckily, the chorus, who never leaves the stage was awesome. The members were cohesive, which made the ensemble a bright part of the play. I enjoyed how they moved and found humor in this otherwise dark play. Similarly, Creeon, played by Jy Murphy, found the most honesty on stage and provided some of the strongest work. Also, Jason Scott Quinn, as Tiresias is captivating.
I’m all up for making bold choices and having a female play Oedipus is such a choice. However, I didn’t find and particular meaning or reason as to why this was the route taken. I would have liked to see it carried out somehow throughout the production. She was clearly a woman in appearance but identifying herself as a man. Was she supposed to be transgender? There seemed to be little explanation for this role reversal, and as such made it seem like art for arts sake, which is problematic. Yet, I left the theater feeling like I had visited ancient Greece, which is a feat all by itself!
Oedipus Rex XX/XY played March 7-24, 2013 at La Mama’s first floor theater.