OEDIPUS REX by Sophocles (Canopy Theatre). At Philosopher’s Walk (80 Queen’s Park). To August 5. $10, stu/srs $8, Tuesday pwyc. 416-978-8849. See Continuing, page 95. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Director andrea wasserman does not go far enough in her imagining of Sophocles ‘ Oedipus Rex , the classic Greek tragedy of a man doomed to kill his father and bed his mother.
The writhing and wailing young members of Wasserman’s Greek chorus spend most of the show tearing their clothes and grimacing rather than contextualizing the action’s time, place, feeling or anything expressive.
A focused vision could have had them creating more evocative pictures rather than constantly battling with the lead actors for airtime.
At the same time, the leads never grasp their characters, save for Lada Darewych as Jocasta. She finds subtlety in her lines as she strokes fretful Oedipus like a child, and then kisses him as a wife.
As Oedipus, Paul Kit blusters and struts around the outdoor set like a cartoon hero. If Wasserman means for Oedipus to be cartoony, that choice puts an interesting spin on the show, making it a commentary on heroism and manhood.
But she doesn’t steer confidently in this or any other direction. A terrible English translation complicates matters, leaving the cast without poetry to speak, just lines to yell out toward Philosopher’s Walk.