In town decimated and prostrate by plague King Oedipus seeks obsessively the truth that will eventually destroy him. But the legend of the man condemned by the gods at birth to murder his father and marry his mother also contains the myth of the hero who refuses to close eyes to reality and blind himself when sees, finally, beyond the appearances.
Japanese director Kuniaki Ida returns to Teatro do Bolhão to stage one of the founding texts of Western Culture – Oedipus, Sophocles, considered the “perfect tragedy” by Aristotle. In addition to the extraordinary breadth of readings which proposes Sophocles – literary, religious, sociological, anthropological, legal and police (up to some psychoanalytic), Oedipus shows us today, in a time when you still search for a paradigm, that change continues to avail itself of the archetypes rooted in our cultural memory.
In a scenic space stripped and dominated by a huge metal structure Kuniaki Ida seeks to recover the primitive roots of Greek theatre – three players – Antonio Capalo, João Paulo Costa and João Cardoso – multiply in the lead roles – including women’s – by adding a coryphaeus – Pedro Lamares – and the presence of ten “coreutas”.
Continuing its nuclear project to disseminate the fundamental texts of Western dramaturgy, the company proposes this new staging of Oedipus, in the desire to look at the classic text, from its timeless reality, to the reality of our time, because “Our travel are still those Ulysses, our jobs are still those of Hercules” (George Steiner).
The riddle of the Sphinx recites: Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?
The answer is known: Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then walks with a cane in old age.
Only Oedipus knew the riddle.
Who is Oedipus?
There is something – risking an anachronism – Renaissance on this Oedipus. The inquisitive impulse for truth which – we already know – will destroy him, is what makes him amazing. He does not hesitate to reveal the truth, even the most tremendous one, because it is imperative to know. Sophocles declares, within a monistic view of man context, this individual impulse – the desire – that separates the mythic mentality of fatalism. I am my own order and my foundation.
Not being guilty, the gods were angry because of his race (or family). Oedipus should not be born. This is his only misfortune, and this bizarre sin infects an entire city. The same man who saved the city puzzle, the perfect Inquirer, succumbs to the inexorable and any resistance is absurd.
Today, out of an archaic scheme of beliefs and traditions we continue to be questioned. We still have to give the answer to the new question that is not transcendent, still questioning us and demanding response, under penalty of being devoured. At Thebes, ravaged by pestilence, gods prophesied man’s fate. Today we are determined by mathematical laws, natural regularities.
On March 11, 2011 occurred in Fukushima, Japan, an unimaginable earthquake followed by a tsunami and a nuclear disaster. Many cities were reduced to powder. The radioactivity contaminated all Japan and many neighboring countries. After one year, the reconstruction is ongoing but the Japanese government has made no decision to eliminate nuclear.
Is the Sphinx still interrogating us?
In this immense destruction I still see the image of Oedipus and his torment. And their willingness to give the ultimate answer, the perfect solution.
Today the Sphinx still begs to be deciphered, if we do not respond, it will devours us.
Teatro do Bolhão
Teatro do Bolhão has been a major force in Portugal drama since its establishment in 2003. The Company presents an annual season at its home base in Porto. Current Artistic Directors, Antonio Capelo, João Paulo Costa, Joana Providência and Pedro Aparicio founded the Company after the foundation of ACE Escola de Artes – the Theatre School, in 1990.
Teatro do Bolhão offers Porto audiences an eclectic program of Portuguese plays, lively interpretations of the classic repertoire (under the direction of Kuniaki Ida) and the best of new international writing. It seeks to produce theatre of the highest standard that consistently illuminates, entertains and challenges.
In recent years, the company has performed The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, by Bertold Brecht (2003); Don Juan, by Moliere, (2005), or Othello by Shakespeare (2009) all under the direction of Kuniaki Ida.
Apart from the classic repertoire the company produces also: a cycle of plays based on stories with strong realistic penchant, as an example: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee, 2004; Night of Iguana, by Tennessee Williams, 2007; The Night Watch by Lars Norén, 2008; Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O’Neill, 2010; the multidisciplinary creation, strongly choreographic, linked between the languages of dance and theatre as we can see in Joana Providência’s creation (Pioravante Marche, Samuel Beckett, 2003; Hand to Mouth, from Paula Rego, 2004; Thief of Souls, from Herberto Helder, 2008; and Warm Earth Cold Earth, 2011.
Teatro do Bolhão emphasizes its cycle of plays to children and Youth – also Joana Providência’s creation – which denote its strong will to build and educate new publics to theatre and culture.
Direction: Kuniaki Ida
Set Design: Cristóvão Neto
Costumes Cristina Costa
Lighting Design Pedro Vieira de Carvalho
Sound Design José Prata
Production Photographer – Pedro Vieira de Carvalho
Press – Gabriela Poças| Daniela Ferreira
Designer – Bernardo Providência
Video – Eva Ângelo
Light Operation – Cárin Geada
Sound Operation – Fábio Ferreira
Production – Pedro Aparício
Oedipus – António Capelo
Tiresias/Jocasta/Herdsman – João Paulo Costa
Creon/The Messenger – João Cardoso
Coryphaeus – Pedro Lamares
André Loubet, Beatriz Frutuoso, Catarina Ribeiro Santos, Ivo Luz, Joana Melo, Miguel Lemos, Pedro Roquette
Chorus and Ismene – Rita lagarto
Chorus and Antigone – Rita Gigante