This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

24Sep/19

OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding

(photo by Elias Moraitis) OEDIPUS - Photos OEDIPUS

Elli Papakonstantinou’s multimedia, immersive adaptation of Oedipus Rex debuts at BAM this week (photo by Elias Moraitis)

BAM Fisher, Fishman Space
321 Ashland Pl.
September 25-29, $30
718-636-4100
www.bam.org/oedipus

Perhaps more than any other Greek tragedy, Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex lends itself to all kinds of adaptations. The violent tale of murder, suicide, incest, and self-mutilation has been turned into operas, films, oratorios, and plays in multiple languages around the world; among those who have tackled the 429 BCE work are Pier Paolo Pasolini (Edipo Re), Luis Alfaro (Oedipus El Rey), Toshio Matsumoto (Funeral Parade of Roses), Gabriel García Márquez (Edipo Alcalde), Ola Rotimi (The Gods Are Not to Blame), Peter Schickele (Oedipus Tex), Jean Cocteau (La Machine Infernale), Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), German comedian Bodo Wartke (könig ödipus), and many others, moving the story to South Central LA, the Philippines, Japan, Nigeria, Colombia, and even outer space.

 ( photo by © Karol Jarek)

Lito Messini stars as title character in OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding (photo by © Karol Jarek)

Greek avant-garde creator Elli Papakonstantinou transforms Sophocles’s play into an immersive hybrid opera for the multimedia OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding, running at the BAM Fisher September 25-29. The hundred-minute piece, a collaboration between the Athens-based ODC Ensemble and New York City’s the Directors Company, features a score composed by Tilemachos Moussas and Julia Kent and played live by Kent on cello, Misha Piatigorsky on piano, and Barbara Nerness on live electronics; real-time video by Hassan Estakhrian and Stephanie Sherriff, with cinematic environments by Sherriff; costumes by Jolene Richardson; and masks by Maritina Keleri and Chrysanthi Avloniti. Papakonstantinou, whose previous work includes Louisette: The Backstage of Revolution, Touching the Bottom of the Sea, and The Kindly Ones (at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial), is credited with the concept, stage direction, libretto, and lighting. Lito Messini stars as Oedipus, with Nassia Gofa as Jocasta, Elias Husiak as the boy, Anastasia Katsinavaki as Teiresias, Theodora Loukas as the woman, Misha Piatigorsky as the MC, and Manos Tsakiris as the researcher. Papakonstantinou developed parts of the show during a residency at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music & Acoustics, where she worked with artists and scientists to address such questions as “Are we free?,” “Dο we experience free will?,” and “Are there real alternatives, or is all that takes place the outcome of necessity?” University of London professor Manos Tsakiris served as the scientific adviser for yet another unusual and original adaptation of this classic story.

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