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Parricide unmasks himself

Parricide unmasks himself

MICHAEL-GEORG MUELLER / Westfaelische Rudschau

2002-07-01

Lithuanian Oskaras Korsunovas directs “Oedipus Rex” as a detective

Duisburg.
As a seasoned athlete is Oedipus standing on the platform of a winner – the seesaw. Crawling and climbing subjects, acrobatic companions in arms help to keep his balance. However, little by little the hero stars loosing the balance and falls down into a sandpit, from which he’d raised to govern Thebes.
The theatre of bodies and music as a criminal story with surrealistic horror images – that’s how Oskaras Korsunovas stages the first detective drama of the world literature. The classic of antique literature Sophocles staged for the “Theater der Welt” festival received sparkling modern interpretation, remote to the archeology of contemporary theatre with its cave painting and mask rubbish.
The festive European premiere of a tragedy took place in Duisburg in the Lithuanian language with German titles. In summer it’ll also be possible to see in Salzburg festival (Festspielen) because 33 years old director from Vilnius (Lithuania) is worshiped and sought-after as an exceptional talent, who’s charming with his select means of contemporary theatre. Like the orgies of sound created by the means of the whole arsenal of drums and the impressive massive construction, the acrobatics, dance and mythical singing enrich “Oedipus Rex”.
It’s scary and cold in Thebes, as after the explosion of a neutron bomb. Only the metal frames of houses can be seen. Having looked more closely you recognise buildings, ladders, a roundabout, a swing, “a mushroom” and a sandpit. Monster headed dwarves are squeaking, swinging and jog-trotting in an uninhabited playground. Oedipus, wearing an official grey suit, is walking with unsteady steps and loping in the sand. It’s a metaphor of innocence, but it does not protect him from the terrible destiny foretold by Apollo (the parricide and the incest with his mother). He wants to bring new life into Thebes, however, he only brings the destruction. Oedipus has to take vengeance for the king Laius, as it’s because of his murder the gods are punishing the city with plague epidemic.
Korsunovas creates the action by the means of a breathtaking psychological thriller: the search of evidence, the inquest of witnesses, the analysis of facts – thus, the noose on Oedipus’ neck is being fastened gradually. For Oedipus, the culprit, does not know his guilt and is looking for the guilty one and, thus discloses him (himself).
His meetings with the wife and mother Jokasta and the clairvoyant are the strongest moments of the performance. He’s making love to Jokasta in a sandpit, where earlier Teiresias, a Michael Jackson prototype with the mask of a bird, broke the bitter truth into his eyes in a rap and break-dance rhythm. A gigantic blind bear – a voice of nation in a robot like staccato is making comments on it.
Surrealistic nightmares follow each other, interweave with acrobatic feats creating dramatic tension which isn’t subsiding throughout all the three hours. It’s a mythical performance driven by thunderous drums, which, similarly to circus acts, feature each apogee. Undoubtedly, this “Oedipus Rex” was the most mature and the most theatrical work of art of all the productions offered in 2002 “Theatre der Welt”.
MICHAEL-GEORG MUELLER