Allison- Theater 1101

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Oedipus

The play of Oedipus contains several themes which reoccur throughout the duration of the play, and are also present in many other great Greek dramas and epics. (Homer's 'The Iliad,' for example)

The concept of sight is a predominant theme throughout the play, both figuratively and literally. A particularily interesting point are the parallels between Oedipus and the blind seer, Tiresias. I found it quite intriguing and clever that Oedipus, the great ruler, physically has the ability to see, but is blind in almost every other respect. Tiresias, on the other hand, is unable to physically see but has wisdom and insight beyond anyone in the land. Once Oedipus' transgressions are revealed and he gains understanding about his past, he then physically blinds himself. He trades ignorance for understanding, and sight for sight.

Anothing major theme in this play is the theme of pride, or hubris. Oedipus' excessive pride and greed for knowledge ultimately lead to his downfall. An excellent example of when "curiosity killed the cat." This is such a great theme, because it is so popular among Greek stories. I think this was the "icing on top of the cake," his weakness that ended up ruining him. When Tiresias told Oedipus HE was Laius's murdurer, Oedipus (naturally, I suppose) became aggressive and was in denial. His pride even lead him to accuse his friend Creon of trying to dethrone him. Later on in the play, when he and Jacosta began putting together the pieces of the puzzle, his pride propelled him to send for the shepard, just so he could PROVE to everyone that he was right, that he had cheated fate. (I got so frustrated reading this part! I just kept thinking "Stop! Shut up! Don't ask any more questions... ignorance is bliss!" As it turned out, however, fate had gotten the better of Oedipus, and once he learned the truth, he was immediately humiliated (obviously) and in his suffering became a humble, groveling, almost pathetic creature.

I also think that a third theme in this play is that of fate. Though several people tried to cheat fate, (Oedipus, Laius, and Jacosta, for example) it came around to bite them in the ***. I wonder what would have happened if Laius and Jacosta had kept Oedipus and raised them in their household. Would he still have killed his father and married his mother? (I like to think not.) I think this was the overall message Sophocles was trying to get across: Fate doesn't lie, and it never changes. It's inevitable and unmoving.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Laramie

I've read the first act of this play, and I think it is awesome. I haven't ever read anything like this before, and I was really intrigued by the structure (or perhaps lack thereof?) of the play. I think it's really great the way Sergeant Hing "sets the scene," describing the physical town of Laramie, as well as the social/mental/emotional aspect of Laramie. I also love the general flow of the play, how the dialogue and narration bounces back and forth between the members of the theater company and the citizens of Laramie.

There were a lot of points made in the first act that really made me stop and think, but the one that perhaps struck me the most was the final quotation of the act, where Dr. Cantway says:

"Then two days later I found out the connection and I was... very...
struck!!! They were two kids!!!!! they were both my patients and
they were two kids. I took care of both of them.... Of both their
bodies. And... for a brief moment I wondered if this is how God
feels when he looks down at us. How we are all his kids... Our
bodies.... Our souls.... And I felt a great deal of compassion....
For both of them...."

I think out of all the passages in the first act, this was the one that struck me the most, probably because my "spiritual life" and religious beliefs are things that I have been struggling with lately. Not only is that topic a sensitive one for me, but in my mind's eye, I could just see the man telling this to the interviewer... what a hard thing to say! I can't imagine what it would have been like to have heard something like that, to see the pained and perhaps guilty expression on the doctor's face, to hear him choke up, and maybe watch the tears well in his eyes. I don't think I could have handled that. It really struck a chord in me.