Production Criticism of Oedipus the King
Production Criticism of Oedipus the King
The directorial concept of the play started with an overall picture of melancholy and a suggestion that the story is indeed a tragedy. The stage, as the foundation of the entire scene, has been designed to differentiate the levels of society, thus, it has different levels of platforms and steps, but leaving the center of the stage flattest, where most of the characters will be performing. The materials used for the platforms are of different types. The higher steps leading to the outskirts of the stage look like they were made with ordinary flat rocks, much like the ones we see in the old Jerusalem.
The steps were made simply for the purpose of being pathways men can walk on. Nothing fashionable. The center of the stage has a different design, because I noticed that the flooring is much more modern than the flat rocks around it. The material of the floor of the center stage has a much smoother quality, although it was carved like bricks, like the ones on the streets of Paris, France. The floor carvings are designed like segmented rings that all leads to one focal point, much like the bytes in a compact disc. The most prominent part of the stage is the palace of Oedipus, the King.
It stands so proud with its walls extending all the way to the top that it scares you of its command of authority and power. It stood so high and proud that it looked like it reached the heavens and looks infinite. The material of it was the smoothest of all. It has the most modern design in the stage. The cement has a slate gray color mixed with white streaks that suggested it must be made of marble…the strongest among the rocks on stage. That’s how powerful Oedipus, as a king, is. He is believed to be the savior of Thebes when he defeated the Sphinx by answering the most difficult riddle.
The play is an obvious “non-dramatic pageantry,” because the elements of it were present and done in the stage. There is an “icon” or focal point, which usually is a “religious artifact or a saint. ” (Theatrical Production, Encyclop? dia Britannica. ). There was a huge cross with a white cloth resting on its arm at the middle of the highest outstkirt platform. This is its focal point because it looks religious enough to suggest it’s the cross of Jesus Christ. Overall, the environment of the stage is melancholic. The color of the stage’s floor to the very tall palace is in the neutral shade.
Again, nothing special. This just suggests the hue of sorrow, which is the shade of gray. The sorrowful environment was coupled with the stage lights, which made the scene look softer and mellower. The lights come from under the outskirts’ platforms, which gave a lot of shadow on the stage. The second light will be coming from directly above the stage, which gives all little bit of glow on the heads of the characters, but not enough light to brighten the faces of every actor. The poor lighting made it felt like the characters are speaking to me personally, in my deepest thoughts.
It dawned to me that whenever I am depressed or whenever I wanted to be alone, I tend to hate bright lights. Such is the feeling of someone in wakes, especially those wakes inside chapels. The serene, soothing look of a funeral scene in a chapel is the aimed environment here. The background lights on the outskirts of the stage changes as the mood of the scene changes too. Even though the shadow was effective enough to suggest sorrow, the light blue hue of the background defined the mood. When the ugly truth of Oedipus’ character was nearly revealed, the background light turned into a reddish hue, as if the sun was setting.
It gave a red glow that suggested the horrible feeling of the moment. It also made the blood coming out from Oedipus’ eyes look thick and black, which made the suffering grievous enough to die. Sounds make the hearts beat rapidly and loses one’s breath. From beginning until the end, the background music created the feeling that it is tragic. When Tiresius, the seer, showed up, there was annoying background music created by a type of violin, which made it felt like there was great irony and perversity in the scene.
The horting sound of the violin made my heart twist and my throat a bit choked because I felt the tension due to the sound. It is interesting though, how the director was able to coordinate all aspects of production to make the playscript fit his directorial concept. Of course, the playscript was changed to make it more dramatic and the words appealing to the audience. The playscript was “Bowdlerized,” or words were changed to fit the lingo of the modern audience. (Dr. Eric W. Trumbull. ).
Although there weren’t any fancy or colorful props on the stage, the characters are the ones that still mattered the most. Though the faces of the characters generally remained stiff throughout, their voices are full of color. Loudness and softness of the voices stated the mood. There was also a striking difference on the characters’ costumes, each has it’s own different era to represent; a group will be wearing costumes of Sophocle’s generation, another wearing the fashion of the early twentieth century, while another wearing the fashion of the latest trend.
Still, the colors of the costumes were nothing fancier than red, white and gold. The colors of the cloths are in plain solid colors too. The characters’ spotlight are their white costumes, or something white in their costumes. For example, the choruses were all dressed in black except the ribbon on the neck, which is pure white. This gives the picture that their heads are floating and the rest of the body is invisible. The director’s aim to present a non-dramatical pageant play that won’t bore the modern audience so far caught my attention.
He may have aimed to make the production profit a lot more by involving “famous” actors to play the role, as part of his marketing strategy. (Dr. Eric W. Trumbull. ). The production is an art in itself, and Don Taylor would’ve still passed as very good theatrical director. The play is directed gearing away from the Shakespearean concept of production, which made it quite different to the taste of theatrical fans, and thus, worth watching and recommending.
Subject: Oedipus the King,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 November 2016
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