OEDIPUS THE KING
Tara Arts Centre, London SW18
Opened 12 March, 1991

Greek drama's combination of ritual form and social immediacy has effectively been reinvented in Jatinder Verma's marvellous blend of all material which comes to hand: Japanese and South Indian dance and dramatic stylisation; company members' ancestral cultures Including Tamil, Ashkenazic and Afrikaans; even semi-gratuitous bits of Appointment In Samara and The Waste Land. All are brought into play in what is not only a powerful and vivid version of the tragedy but also an eloquent celebration of the riches of a pluralistic society. In doing so it affirms, almost by the way, that such a society is more than a wispily utopian prospect, that (in however incomplete a measure) it exists here and now. Applying this process to Sophocles' play has involved sweeping away all mistaken fidelity to the old duologue-and-chorus conventions and setting the inherent drama of the story free again. It's a triumphant and potentially quite important achievement.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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