The story’s the thing.

The three plays of the Oedipus Cycle at the Pearl Theatre tell a continuous story although Sophocles wrote them “out of order” over vast intervals of his life (~ 496-406 BCE): Antigone, which ends the cycle, when he was in his fifties, Oedipus the King, which starts it, in his sixties, and Oedipus at Colonus,just before he died.  Although they aren’t a true trilogy, the material was with him all his life and the Pearl Theatre gives us the opportunity to see them in narrative sequence, a stimulating experiment. The problem is that in this production the story’s the thing — instead of the play. Twenty five percent of the text has been eliminated, and with it, much of the poetry and meaning. Evidently this was done to make the three plays fit into a single theatrical evening. Also the somewhat lofty language of the translation collides with the fast trendy rhythms of the actors’ speech.

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