Adapting Oedipus Rex: The Contrast Between Traditional and Modern Approaches.

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In contrast to one another, two forms of the famous primordial Greek performance "Oedipus Rex" could be made to suit the play in a present day state of mind. One such play could be to try and re-live the actual play itself, in this statement I mean perform the play to almost every identical feature that occurred in the Greek times. Not only would this interest the audience and on-lookers but it could give people the perspective of what the Greek plays were all about and how they were set up.

The layout of the theatre would have to resemble a typical theatre in Greece, this would have to be a reconstruction of the Theatre of Dionysus. The theatre contained a semicircular amphitheater, and at its lowest level, stood, the round orchestra, the dancing place where the chorus performed etc. The costumes and dialogue would also have to remain the same, and most importantly the masks which were used in Greek times would be a big part of the play since masks were very important back then.

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Now if I were a director of a modern re-take of Oedipus Rex, I would not get rid of the function of the chorus.

The chorus would remain a large part of the production, I might change the chorus from being so monotone to maybe something different, like having a different member of the chorus read a different line. What might make the chorus even more interesting is to situate them in the audience, this way their speech is easily heard and distracts the audience from the stage (I believe that in the Greek performances the chorus were not viewed by many on-lookers as many of the audience were distracted by stuff going happening on the stage), the chorus might have voice synthesizers to change their voices and make their speeches more dramatic.

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To help the chorus as a structure I would also have an orchestra play pieces of music during the performance, when the scene tense and there was a feeling of nervousness then the orchestra would play a certain piece of classical music which would set the mood exactly, when different sets of moods where occurring on stage then the orchestra played certain pieces of music to help set the mood (the music would not be loud but of a good volume so that all the audience could hear it well). I wouldn't have any other forms of music played by the orchestra, they would play old classical music by famous composers such as Beethoven and Mozart etc.

I would also change the chorus a little, by this I mean I would cut the amount of speech and time they spent in the performance. By doing this, the chorus would only say relevant strong points instead of rambling on like in other Greek performances. There overall function and meaning of the chorus would remain strong and play a big part in the production. The language, which the actors used would be of this time and age, the script would have to be re-written and based around 21st Century influences and structures.

I would try to evolve the play around a certain theme that would be relevant of our society, this way the audience have something to compare and contrast and are not bored by old myths and stories. I would structure the conversation, dialogue, costumes etc around modern day so that the audience and on-lookers could pick up the message of the play easily, the message which Oedipus Rex presented was that, man is susceptible to anything and everything, this message would have to be present in the production and this is portrayed through the costumes, dialogue and conversation between characters.

Important scenes and drama going on within the production must remain strong and dramatic. Actors of high quality and excellence would be a great advantage to help and show the message of the performance, important actions and scenes must be easily shown and seen by the on-lookers, if not then the whole performance will be ruined and the intentions destroyed. The actors in the performance must use strong tones in their voice to help the scenes and drama, they must also use all the space around them and not clump around one spot.

The chorus could also be included again to help the audience understand what is happening, every so often they should appear and explain what has happened and what message is being given out. The layout of the stage would be level to the audience, the audience would be relatively very close to the actors, this way the production and important scenes are conversations can be easily seen and heard by the audience.

The use of lighting would be very large in the production, for different scenes different coloured lights would be used to signify different sorts of moods e. g. blue for sadness and depression, red for romance or anger, black for death, yellow for calmness and tranquility. Some important scenes where light colours would be relevant are for example when the truth about Oedipus's past is finally being revealed to him, when Oedipus finds out Jocasta has killed herself and stabs out his eyes, scenes where there is fighting or anger between characters etc. The costumes of the actors would not be old looking or anything, they would resemble modern day clothes so that the audience and on-lookers can understand the production and the message it shows easily.

I would not have the actors wear masks, since it wouldn't be relevant to modern day performances and the audience are close enough to see the emotions and actions that the actors emit on stage. All these features would make the performance rather interesting, and help the audience receive the message from the play, though time and technology has changed and maybe the actual performance itself, the message is still present in our modern day and age.

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Adapting Oedipus Rex: The Contrast Between Traditional and Modern Approaches.. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Adapting Oedipus Rex: The Contrast Between Traditional and Modern Approaches.
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