Oedipus (Northern Broadsides, 2001)
Images from Northern Broadsides Web Site
Oedipus, Blake's version of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, was first performed at the Viaduct Theatre, Dean Clough, Halifax, in September 2001, with Conrad Nelson as Oedipus, John Branwell as Creon, Sarah Parks as Jocasta and Barrie Rutter as Tiresias. The opening lines of the original describe a plague afflicting Thebes – in 2001 Britain was also struggling with a plague, the foot-and-mouth-epidemic, and the references to dead or dying livestock (‘cows with their ribs showing like roof-slats, vast pyres of mouldering sheep') had a special resonance. But when the play had its press night two days after 9/11, the image of a ruined city – reeking with smoke, ringing with cries, a panicked people massing in the streets – took on another meaning as well.
Sophocles' play combines the power of primal myth with the intricacy of a detective story: how did Oedipus come to murder his father Laius? and then sleep with his mother Jocasta? In the following speech, he recounts the episode which answers the first of those questions. There's less use of dialect than in The Cracked Pot, but both the setting and the language have strong Yorkshire overtones.
One day on my wanderings I happened on the spot
Oedipus/Antigone is published as a single text by Northern Broadsides, at £6.99 plus £1 p&p. To order a copy go to: Northern Broadsides
© blakemorrison.com 2006