Yesterday was the first performance this year of the Greek play, Oedipus Rex by the actors of the Avatar Repertory Theater, and Tak & I arrived early. Naturally, all of the avatars are real people and have real experience as actors, performing live. So this was real theater with some great acting, especially by Joff Fassnacht who played Oedipus and who helped make the show captivating for me.
If you didn’t read this play at some point in your education I’m pretty sure you heard about what Oedipus did and I’m also pretty sure it shocked you really badly. Basically, the play is about Oedipus and his revelation about crimes he committed and cruel ironies the gods had cursed him with.
The story revolves around the murder of the former king who we come to discover was Oedipus’ father. And with the twists and turns of the story we also learn that Oedipus’ wife is, in fact his own real mother. The story is intense and end tragically for Oedipus.
The story begins with formidable king Oedipus openly addressing the Theiban people. The king’s brother Creon has learning about the cause of a plague upon the people from the Oracle of Delphi, it is caused by the unsolved murder of the previous king Laius.
In his attempt to discover the person responsible for the murder, Oedipus summons blind prophet Tiresius. Tiresiu claims to know the what Oedipus’ wants but tells him to abandon his quest. In a vicious confrontation, Tiresius succumbs and tells Oedipus that it was Oedipus himself who committed the murder.
Oedipus doesn’t see how he could possibly have killed his own father. And as the evidence mounts, Oedipus becomes more rigid in his determination to discover the truth. And even though we as an audience know what the truth will be, somehow thru the great acting by Joff Fassnacht we experience the revelations with him.
There are many cruel twists and turns as the story unfolds. The most cruel evidence comes in the form of good news that Oedipus did not kill his father, becasue he father died of old age. Unfortunately, the story of Oedipus’ real family begins to emerge.
The final evidence comes at Oedipus beats a sheperd into telling him Jocasta gave the sheperd Liaus’ only son to be left to die. At last Oedipus and Jocasta have realized that Oedipus was the son of Laius, and he had killed his own father. And hearing this Jocasta runs into the palace.
A terrible sound is heard and Oedipus runs into the palace where he discovers his wife, his mother has killed herself. Now, the cruelty of the gods has become unbearable for Oedipus.
And Oedipus gouges out his own eyes so he can not see the horrors that have befallen him.
And in the final cruelty Oedipus is exiled, stripped of his status and sent away form his family.
Yes, you have to invoke your natural suspension of disbelief and if you do, I think you’d feel as I did that this was a wonderful theatrical performance and something that makes Second Life richer in experience.
Yes, I know I’ve done an awful job of summarizing the story, but maybe I’ve highlighted some of the moments that made the play really intense and exciting. I can also say that I had no idea what to expect but whatever that was, I’m certain that this exceeded my expectations.
The cast starred Joff Fassnacht as Oedipus with Kayden Oconnell, Thundergas Menges, Rowan Shamroy, MadameThespian Underhill, Darius Dubruyere and Em Jannings. I apologize if I’ve missed any cast members. Tip of the hat to the Avatar Repertory Company including Jadabright Pond, Ada Radius and the whole theater company.