OedipusText/LA

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

We’re excited to share with you the next episode of our new online talk show, “Animal Farm: Conversations on Theater and Politics with Steve Leigh Morris and Guests.” This week the show goes to London (at least virtually) to speak with playwright Susan Blundell, actor Lloyd Morris, and musician Elliot Devivo about their online production of “Silence and Joy,” a piece about Ludwig Van Beethoven and the black violinist and virtuoso, George Bridgetower. Here is the link: (And if you missed past episodes you can find them on our website. Look for the “Animal Farm” tab in the upper right menu).

https://citygarage.org/animalfarm

We’re also continues out ongoing “City Garage Classics” series this weekend with a production from 2003, our adaptation of the Oedipus story, “OedipusText/LA” by Charles Duncombe. Here is what the critics had to say:

“Symbolist tactics and City of Angels targets mutate throughout “OedipusText: Los Angeles” in Santa Monica. This adroit City Garage deconstruction imbues Sophocles’ ageless saga of the incestuous king of Thebes with modern elements ranging from self-help to trip-hop. It transpires, as usual with this company, in a self-contained abstract ethos. Author-designer Charles A. Duncombe draws Jocasta’s lines from Helene Cixous’ opera “The Name of Oedipus: Song of the Forbidden Body,” but his esoteric text is otherwise original and impressive. Fredereque Michel’s staging of this melange of neoclassical restraint, shock-radio sass and Freudian polemic attains droll kinetic cohesion, moving a unified ensemble around Duncombe’s screen-dominated minimalist set with invisible ease. Duncombe’s concentrated lighting, Paul M. Rubenstein’s wry videography and Teckla de Bistrovlnovska’s color-coded costumes are invaluable in locating the reference points. Simon Burzynksi’s intense hero is a leather-jacketed Tom Cruise Jr., while Maureen Byrnes’ Jocasta is a riveting column of white who recalls the late Irene Worth. Rubenstein’s sidesplitting DJ is scandalously effective, and David E. Frank is brilliant, whether playing a Nehru-dressed, rocker-voiced Tiresias or a shrieking Dr. Laura-esque harpy. Three red-capped gangbangers (Eric Jung, Jason Piazza and Thomas Ramirez) share chorus duties, alternating as isolated urbanites whose interactions with Tina Fallon’s brittle chat-room fraud and Jennifer Piehl’s unfettered online exhibitionist punctuate Oedipus’ downward spiral.”

LA TIMES — RECOMMENDED

“Freud’s Oedipus complex is borrowed from Sophocles’ mystery; adaptor Charles A. Duncombe lobs the ball back into Sophocles’ court with an absorbing 90-minute shot propelled by modern psychology’s Papa. The plague upon Thebes is here sexual dysfunction in an L.A. of tomorrow: Internet and telephone romances that skirt the terrors of flesh-to-flesh contact; porno and erotic power games all perverted from a primal, forbidden love of mama. Unlike in Sophocles’ play, Oedipus’ mom, Jocasta (the fine Maureen Byrnes), knows what’s going on, and merely waits for Oedipus (Simon Burzynski) to figure it out. Blind prophet Tiresias (the excellent David E. Frank) morphs into a drag queen who imposes glib S&M fetishes on Oedipus….Rubenstein’s video collages (the hull of a ‘50s convertible stranded in South-Central, a woman’s breast, an upper thigh) play in stark counterpoint to the argument on the boards that modern alienation — exacerbated by consumerism and high tech — has roots in antiquity. Frederíque Michel’s arch staging elegantly complements Duncombe’s rhetorical text (with segments by Helene Cixous).”

LA WEEKLY — RECOMMENDED

It will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from 8:00pm this Friday, November 13, through noon on Friday, November 20th.

https://www.youtube.com/c/citygaragetheatre
It’s free to view but we ask people to make a donation if they can through our Chuffed page:

https://chuffed.org/project/citygarage

Merci, stay safe, and wear a mask.

Love,

Frederique

(Left to right) Maureen Byrnes, Eric Jung, Thomas Ramirez, Jason Piazza, Simon Burzynski (photo: Paul Rubenstein)
(Left to right) Maureen Byrnes, Simon Burzynski (photo: Paul Rubenstein)