Theatre

A Greek tragedy retold

Adapting tales A sequence from the play Raja Oedipus under the aegis of Rasanjali. Photo: Special Arrangement  

This play on King Oedipus was adapted in Telugu titled ‘Raja Oedipus', and staged at Ravindra Bharati by Adarsha Yuvabharati.

This play drew the attention of the audience to Vidyasagar, who overcame a neurological problem and took to stage after two decades to essay the title role.

He was in focus through the production, receiving intermittent applause for his performance with controlled movements.

Credit goes to Nagabhushana Sarma for shaping this adaptation with its undercurrent theme of ‘fate dictating direction of life'.

Oedipus opens the show in the presence of the priest of Zeus. The priest predicts bad tidings for the land but stays away from revealing the truth behind this ill omen, despite the King's requests.

The central theme of the drama gets revealed in the later part.

Jocasta, the wife of Laius and queen of Thebes, gives birth to a son.

The king consults an oracle at Delphi who tells him that his newborn son will murder him and marry his wife one day.

The shocked king orders a shepherd to leave his son in woods driving a stake through his feet, lest he crawl away. But the son is rescued and taken to the king of Corinth (offstage). The boy is named Oedipus, meaning swollen foot. Later in life, Oedipus consults an oracle and is told how he will kill his father and marry his mother.

Horrified at this prediction Oedipus runs away from Corinth, hoping it as escape from his fate.

This was the point from where Sophocles began his play. The events that happened in the past get revealed to Oedipus, with the help of a blind seer Tiresias.

He realises he is that bad man who has committed the heinous crimes of murdering his father and marrying his mother unknowingly, just as the oracle had predicted.

A shocked Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus gouges out his own eyes, leaving his children with Thebes.

Good casting

Narayanaswamy played the priest of Zeus. Anuradha, in the prime role of queen Jocasta, filled it well. Rama Sastry was the messenger; Kameswara Sarma was Herd of Laius. Harshavardhan was Creon. B.

Narayana played Tiresias. Directed by Bhajarappa, the play left an indelible mark. The technical support and ingenious backdrop and makeup by T. R. Adabala contributed to the total impact of the play.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 12:01:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/a-greek-tragedy-retold/article2302003.ece

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