Chronicle of the lineage of Oedipus was developed by Athens’ Alpha Idea Theatre
The Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance will present the North American and English language premiere of Tree of Oedipus from April 4 to 14 in The Helen Rosenfeld Lewis Bialosky Lab Theatre at Playhouse Square.
This new play, developed by the Alpha Idea Theatre in Athens, Greece, follows the lineage of Oedipus, from Cadmus, the first man and founder of Thebes, through the story of Oedipus' fall and redemption, to the deadly civil war between his sons, and the final battle between Creon and Antigone. Compiled from several ancient Greek tragedies, including The Phoenicians, Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, and Seven Against Thebes, this sweeping story is told by an ensemble of actors, and features classical acting, song, dance, vaudeville, clowning, acrobatics, and combat which combine into an exciting theatrical explosion.
“I saw the production in Athens several years ago and was blown away by the passion and power of the performances, set design and costumes,” says Michael Mauldin, professor of theatre at CSU and director of the production. “When it came time for the faculty to select productions for this season, Tree of Oedipus seemed perfectly suited for our department, which has been known historically for its daring, enterprise, and fearlessness in producing nontraditional theatrical fare.”
The all CSU cast includes: Anthony Brown (Oedipus/Guard 2), Jordan Ficyk (Cadmus/Tireseas/Voskos), Alyssa Jacobs (Jocasta/Guard 1), Christina Katsaras (Messenger/Chorus), Sullivan Ratcliff (Eteocles/Haemon/Agelos), Madelyn Voltz (Antigone/Messenger), Kamry Williams (Ismene/Messenger), and Eric Wloszek (Creon/Polynices/Theseus).
The production was created by Team IDEA, which includes Kostas Gakis, Konstantinos Bibis and Athina Moustaka. The English translation of the play was undertaken by current CSU theatre major Christina Katsaras, with assistance from her grandfather a native of Greece, with an original musical score by Daniel McNamara, choreography by CSU theatre major Chace Coulter and costume and set design by Alison Garrigan, executive artistic director of Cleveland’s Talespinner Children's Theatre. The overall look of the production transports Oedipus from ancient Greece to a 2000’s “steam punk” environment, further accentuating the play’s Avant Gard, modern vibe. In addition, the set will be configured to mirror a traditional Greek amphitheater which presents productions in the theater-in-the-round style.
“The play really is a study in contrasts, good and evil, light and dark,” adds Mauldin. “The music, choreography, sets and costumes help enhance this feeling by highlighting modern and ancient styles at the same time.”
General show times are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $5-$15 and are available for purchase by calling 216.241.6000, visiting playhousesquare.org or at the State Theatre Ticket Office. Tickets are also available 60-minutes prior to performances at the Allen Theatre Complex. There will be an American Sign Language (ASL) presentation of the performance on Thursday, Apr. 11. This date is presented in conjunction with CSU Disability Services, and patrons can get $5 off a general admissions ticket with the code “ASL” when ordering.
There is a special $25 dinner and a show night on Friday, Apr. 5, available through pre-reservation only. A special menu will be presented at Elements Bistro on Euclid from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Alcohol is not included in the price. This special must be purchased directly through Playhouse Square at least 48-hours in advance of your package date.
As a Resident Company of Playhouse Square, this is the CSU Department of Theater and Dance’s seventh full season performing in the Allen Theatre Complex. The Alpha Idea Theatre was founded in Athens in 2017 and seeks to present traditional Greek theatre with a modern sensibility.