Friday, March 17, 2017

Thrilling Greek Tragedy Comes to Pittsburgh




Thought to have been first performed in 429 BC, OEDIPUS REX takes place in the plague-ridden city of Thebes. King Oedipus sends for a prophet who determines that an unsolved murder is the cause of the gods’ displeasure— and Oedipus is the killer. What follows is an unsettling investigation of the past, which begins at a three-way crossroad and ends in a moment of horrifying self-discovery. It is an age-old tale of the dangers of hubris, told by one of history’s original playwrights, and its themes continue to resonate with audiences today.

PICT Classic Theatre’s production of OEDIPUS REX is a world premiere adaptation by PICT’s Artistic and Executive Director Alan Stanford, who has set the play in the Mediterranean region of northern Africa.  “What the audience will experience will be similar to what the Greeks first presented as theatre,” said Stanford.  “Theatre then was performed very much as a ritual.  What the audience will see is a group of exceptional actors allowing a timeless story to unfold before their eyes.”
The play will star Justin Wilson as King Oedipus, Johnny Lee Davenport as Creon, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2015 Performer of the Year, James FitzGerald as Teiresias.

In pursuit of a diverse cast to best present the story of Oedipus within his concept, Stanford looked to Pittsburgh and beyond, casting Wilson from Chicago, and Davenport from Boston.

OEDIPUS REX is the fourth of five plays to be produced by PICT in its 2016-2017 season at Union Project, located at 801 Negley Avenue in Highland Park.  PICT Classic Theatre has partnered with Union Project in support of the organization’s mission of bridging gaps between communities through art.  The season has included critically acclaimed productions of SHIRLEY VALENTINE, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, THE LION IN WINTER, and will feature SIVE by John B. Keane in May, taking place upon a stage especially crafted for a theatrical experience within Union Project.

OEDIPUS REX performs March 23rd through April 8th 2017 with tickets and season flex subscriptions available at www.picttheatre.org or by calling the PICT Ticket Office at 412-561-6000.  Student and senior discounts available.  An opening night celebration will be held at Union Project following the March 25th performance.

The Cast
Justin Wilson                            Oedipus
Lamar K. Cheston                    Theban/Polybus
Kevin H. Moore                        Laius/Corinthian
Tyler Jetter                              Telemon
Linda Haston                           Leader of the Chorus
Alexis Cash                              Merope/Ismene
Dominique Brock                     Young Jocasta/Antigone
Johnny Lee Davenport             Creon
Sharon McCune                      Jocasta
James FitzGerald                     Teiresias
Karen Baum                            The Sphinx

About Justin Wilson
Justin Wade Wilson is thrilled to be making his Pittsburgh debut with PICT. He was last seen as Jeff in Collaboraction's production of The Mars Assignment and Tim in Aston Rep's production of The Black Slot. He would like to thank PICT for this opportunity, Dana Dancho. and his family for the tremendous support. He dedicates this performance to the memory of Freeman Coffey.

About Alan Stanford
Alan Stanford (Artistic & Executive Director) is in his ninth season at PICT. He was, for more than thirty years, a principal and leading actor with the renowned Gate Theatre, Dublin, where he recently directed a box office record breaking production of The Constant Wife, and previously Pride and Prejudice, which was taken to the Hong Kong Arts Festival in February 2015. He founded Ireland’s Second Age Theatre Company.  PICT credits: Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, For the Tree to Drop, Great Expectations, Macbeth, Woman and Scarecrow, Macbeth, Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, Blithe Spirit, Don Juan Comes Back from the War, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and The Kreutzer Sonata. Other credits: The School for Scandal (Point Park Conservatory), works by Shakespeare, Molière, Noël Coward, Oscar Wilde, Shaw, Beckett, and Brecht.

About Union Project
Union Project is a historic space that community restored maintained; the space was transformed as a creative solution to provide a safe and open space for the community. Union Project has come a long way since 2001, but its work still centers on the transformative power of the arts. Union Project believes that art can create change, and help to build a more inclusive, empathetic, and just community.

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