Following his productions of Metamorphosis, The Trial, and the Fall of the House of Usher, Berkoff’s adaptation of Oedipus gives Sophocles a modern cutting edge yet remains true to the power of classical Greek tragedy. Performed in verse with a traditional Greek Chorus, the production uses a modern setting to explore the family dynamic and how big ideas of gods and fate affect real people in modern times.
Berkoff said: “My version of Oedipus seeks to examine the play and occasionally peer beneath the tendency to strut and pose, to high-blown rhetoric and an air of self-importance somehow unavoidable in versions of Greek tragedy. I also sought to relate some events to images of today since the greatness of Greek tragedy is that its themes deal with the power of natural forces and the cycle of life and death. So its shadow lies across the years and its arguments are mankind’s into perpetuity.”
In Thebes, the gods are angry and have put a terrible curse on the city. The population are saved when one man’s blind ambition to appease them unearths a hideous secret. Condemned by his own arrogance, ‘truth’ and fate conspire as Oedipus unwittingly sets his own downfall in motion. As the pieces of the puzzle come together it soon becomes clear that his only success will be in sealing his own tragic fate.
Berkoff directed Simon Merrells in 2008 in his critically acclaimed adaptation of On the Waterfront, which began at Nottingham Playhouse before moving to the West End . Berkoff has again cast him in the lead role for a production that has been in development over the last decade, since Faber published his adaptation of Oedipus in 2000.
Joining Merrells (Much Ado About Nothing Liverpool Playhouse, The Comedy of Errors RSC) will be Ian Drysdale (Hamlet, Twelfth Night Donmar Warehouse) as Tiresias and Vincenzo Nicoli (On the Waterfront, Pool Death) as Creon.
For tickets and more information, visit the Everyman and Playhouse website.