The Classic Oedipus Gets a Vibrant Translation

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By Debbie Kagy

Charles Pasternak as Oedipus in “Oedipus the Tyrant.”

The Porters of Hellsgate present the world premiere of a new translation by Jamey Hecht, Ph.D., of the famous Greek tragedy, Sophocles’ Oedipus the Tyrant. This production combines modern dance with stylized acting to keep the viewer’s eyes and ears intrigued on what happens next.

King Oedipus (Charles Pasternak), desperate to free his starving people from an inexplicable plague, takes on a search that will unravel his very existence and bring him down from adored king to ostracized vagabond. As he travels down this path, he has the choice to end it or continue and face his fate. But the thought of his beloved peoples’ suffering forces Oedipus to forge onward into utter destruction. Each terrible event adds to the intensity of the climax in the second act in just 90 minutes.

Director Thomas Bigley clearly has a flair for combining classical Greek dramatics with modern ideas such as the caricature faces of the chorus. Keeping with this mixture, Jessica Pasternak’s costume design melds classical Greek clothing with flashy accents on characters such as Jocasta (Kate O’Toole).

Charles Pasternak brings a vibrant quality to Oedipus through his unwavering quick-talking rendition. Leaving little time for outside thought, it is difficult to distinguish the actor from the character. O’Toole presents a very sensual yet desperate side to Jocasta, which audiences will love.

And even if you’re familiar with the original story of Oedipus, Hecht’s translation filled with double meanings will keep you entranced until the very end.

Oedipus the Tyrant runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through March 11. Also, two shows will run on Saturday the 12th at 7p.m. and 10 p.m. and Sunday the 13th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The show is located at The Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students/seniors 60+/AEA)

For reservations, call (818) 325-2055 or go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com. Hecht’s book, Sophocles’s Three Theban Plays is available for purchase in the theatre lobby for $10.

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