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  Oedipus Rex at Court Theatre

Oedipus Rex

Court Theatre
5535 S. Ellis Avenue Chicago

Oedipus seeks to cure his city of a mysterious plague by discovering the murderer of the former king. Captivating and cathartic, Sophocles' seminal Greek tragedy brings to light enduring questions of identity, fate, and free will that reverberate in startling ways in the 21st century. Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell helms this production which begins Court's Oedipus Trilogy, honoring the foundations of drama and Founding Artistic Director Nicholas Rudall's vision for the way Court Theatre would invigorate the classic canon.

Thru - Dec 8, 2019

Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:00pm & 7:30pm

Price: $37.50-$84

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-753-4472

Running Time: 1hr, 20mins

Court Theatre Seating Chart

  Oedipus Rex Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"..."Oedipus" moves fast in Nicholas Rudall's classicist translation and the title character goes from having an ordinary kind of day to being cancelled in a way that makes today's reputational demolitions seem benign. But it needs that sense of progressive self discovery; Roston, an actor I've long admired, is utterly convincing in the general feeling of being a leader in life-upending crisis, a man devastated by his own behavior, but he doesn't always show us that constituent information being comprehended on a moment-by-moment basis and thus the show lacks dramatic tension."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Adapted from Sophocles by the late Nicholas Rudall and directed by Charles Newell, the 80-minute steamroller that opened Saturday mercilessly confronts the audience with questions that can’t be answered this side of mortality. Then it abandons the audience to thrash around with them. Spoiler alert: If you don’t know the ending of the nearly 2,500-year-old tragedy that’s been covered by artists from the Greeks to the Doors, you might want to stop here."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The entire cast is onstage almost the whole time, gyrating in tandem across John Culbert's stark white set under dazzling and sometimes blinding light design by Keith Parham. The play conceals nothing, wants all of its pain and decimation to happen publicly. Kelvin Roston Jr., who plays Oedipus, seems especially bent on making his audience a party to the character's ordeal. But what is Jocasta (Kate Collins), writhing under hot direct light, supposed to do with her face, her voice, or her limbs, to get across what the words say she is experiencing? There is no such gesture."
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Max Maller

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...As we sit in the small, semicircular, arena-style stage at Court Theatre in Hyde Park, where Sophocles’ ancient drama “Oedipus Rex” unfolds, the audience becomes part of an urgent thriller. Actors prowl the aisles, murmuring that our city Thebes is sinking under “waves of death.” Plague and pestilence have left people terrified."
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Nancy Malitz

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...You have to enjoy greek tragedies where misery and pain is the ending result of the story or read up on this play. Either way, the plot even today is the same, that pride goes before the fall and humanity and the fear of how we envision the unknown."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Sophocles "Oedipus Rex" (or "Oedipus the King") has been a time-honored play that has persisted from Ancient Greek civilization into the present day. It has continually been revived and recast while staying true to its origins. What makes this production by the Court Theatre notable is that the original language has been modernized in Professor Rudall's translation. Moreover, King Oedipus (Kelvin Roston, Jr.) and his daughter Antigone (Aerial Williams) are played by African-Americans. As Oedipus's wife Queen Jocasta (Kate Collins) describes her deceased husband King Laius as being dark in physical appearance, making him African-American by implication adds a new dimension to the entire play."
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Julia W. Rath

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Perhaps the most contemporary choice—and the most primitive—is the replacement of choral odes with movement (designed by Erin Kilmurray), which transforms unison speeches into the pounding of a chest that beats as one, a body that senses together. Roston is a willful Oedipus who makes his blinding an act of rebellion; Kate Collins an imposing and maternal Jocasta; Christopher Donahue a sardonic (which makes sense when you think about it) Teiresias. Aeriel Williams’ waifish Antigone gives an anticipatory hint of the work to come at Court a year hence. Costumes by Jacqueline Firkins complete the picture of a condition that is contemporary and also timeless."
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Irene Hsiao

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...Kevin Roston, Jr., is cast as Oedipus. Roston has gained stardom locally, especially for his performances in plays by August Wilson. Roston brings a potent voice and a rough hew physical presence to the character. His Oedipus doesn’t exude much regal bearing but he is a commanding figure and he portrays the now shattered king’s grief and despair at the end of the play with moving credibility."
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Dan Zeff

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Directed by Court Artistic Director Charles Newell from a translation by Court Founder Nicholas Rudall, this version strips the play down to its essence. It is performed on a visually striking but empty silver-gray John Culbert set that allows for all sorts of interesting stage pictures and movement, but the focus of the play is always away from the set, addressing the audience ourselves as citizens of Thebes. In fact, the opening scenes don’t even use the stage: the actors situate themselves in the aisles of the theatre, pointedly interacting with audience members, drawing us into the play that will follow and allowing Oedipus (Kevin Roston, Jr.) to direct his lines to us all. (The lights never even fully come down on the house; we are completely included within the play.)"
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...Newell's staging-a fast-paced, sweeping visual epic-and Roston's breathtaking performance make for one of the finest opportunities to fully understand and appreciate the extraordinary complexity of Greek tragedy."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...For classic theatre lovers and skeptics alike, this is a must-see. You'll no doubt leave with a greater appreciation of where this unthinkable tragedy in Sophocles's canon fits into our world today."
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Lauren Lynch

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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