CULTURE

‘Oedipus Rex’ at Epidaurus

The production of Sophocles’ tragedy «Oedipus Rex,» to be staged Friday and Saturday at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, promises to be interesting and stimulating. The tragedy bears the signature of director Giorgos Kimoulis, who co-stars alongside Nonika Galinea. Goran Bregovic wrote the music, with lyrics by Lina Nikolakopoulou, and popular singer George Dalaras appears as head of the Chorus. The collaboration of these acclaimed artists is expected to brighten this year’s Epidaurus Festival of Ancient Drama and draw many spectators. Importance of ‘Oedipus’ Director and star Kimoulis said the production emphasized the importance of Sophocles’ tragedy. «Nietzsche, Freud and Claude Levi-Strauss have worked on this play,» he said. «The play refers to man’s ‘de-naturalization,’ meaning his tendency to believe that in order to conquer the universe, he must step out of it. It is one of the most complete ancient tragedies, functioning as an example of fear, guilt and arrogance.» Kimoulis, who also leads the Athens Contemporary Theater, has played Oedipus in another production, but says he sees the part in the latest rendering through a new perspective. «I only remember extracts from the previous production,» he said. «The time that has elapsed between the two gives me the opportunity to discover my personal changes. Standards have become much higher for me.» The strong emotional bond with the other artists eventually resulted in this collaboration, Kimoulis said. Nonika Galinea, who will play the part of Jocasta, said it is the most beautiful part she has played. ‘Tension and explosions’ «I have come to love (this part) very much,» Galinea said. «It is extremely hard to interpret, full of tension and explosions. Jocasta faces her tragic fate with self-control and dignity, without any mercy for herself. It is deliverance and awe at the same time. Kimoulis, with his perfect teaching, led me to the hardest and simplest means of expression.» Tassos Halkias, who will play Creon, said he believes Kimoulis’s guidance will lead the play to success. Goran Bregovic’s music also enhances the production. «The composer brings us closer to taking the tragedy out of a Byzantine context,» Kimoulis said. «Tragedy isn’t an epitaph without resurrection. Bregovic can turn pain and desperation into manic joy.» George Dalaras said he initially had doubts about venturing into unknown territory, but agreed to perform because of his longtime admiration and friendship with Kimoulis. «Besides, the head of the Chorus does not star in the performance,» Dalaras said. «He functions as a spectator of all the events taking place.» The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus is located at Epidaurus, near Nafplion. Tickets can be purchased at the Hellenic Festival box office at 39 Panepistimou, tel 210.928.2900, and at the theater box office. For credit card reservations, call the same number.