As audience members take their seats, the cast, a who’s who of Montreal talent, mill about chatting and looking over scripts. With the cast seated at the table the play begins in the harsh fluorescent work lights of the theatre.
Soon after, the 50 person chorus made up of Choeur Maha, The Montreal Artists Choir & Zakynthines Phones, enter each bearing a candle. With much relief the work lights turn into stage lighting and a simple but evocative ambiance is created.
Marcel Jeannin evokes a confident Oedipus who crumbles into a shattered man throughout the staged reading. The lack of costumes and makeup allowed the audience to hang on his every word which he speaks with clarity and gravitas. Without inventive distractions, the text and the voice of these seasoned pros is what shines. Jocasta, played by the elegant France Rolland, was oblivious to her own wrongdoings but still carried the weight of abandoning her infant child to save herself from the prophecy. Chip Chuipka is a delight as Corinthian, sharing the truths of the prophecy with comedic lightness despite the grave consequences of what he tells Oedipus.
Another highlight was the main Chorus members led by Gitanjali Jain with Melissa Trottier and Janet Warrington. Their voices and presence kept the text moving and sounding seductive in conjunction with the people of Thebes/50 person choir. Andreas Aspergis’s subtle yet purposeful staging showcases the entire cast through their words and musicality.
A beautiful adaptation and accessible literal translation makes this a must-see for anyone who has studied the classic Sophocles story and a great introduction for those unfamiliar with the epic tale.
Photos by: Emilio Espinosa C.