The premiere of "Oedipus at Colonus" directed by Andrei Konchalovsky filled house in Italy

22 October 2014

The premiere of a new Italian-Russian performance, “Oedipus at Colonus”, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, was staged on October 17 and 18 in Teatro Olimpico of Vicenza, Italy, with the support of The Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation.

“Oedipus at Colonus” is an abridged version of the tragedy written by Sophocles. The action is focused on a fight between Creon, Theseus and Polynices over the influence on the main character, Oedipus, and his daughter Antigone. Oedipus, blinded and exiled from Thebes for the murder of his father and marriage with his mother, wanders throughout Greece with his daughter seeking refuge. The action begins with the moment Oedipus and Antigone come to Colonus, a village near Athens. Having reached the sacred grove, they stay because Oedipus knows that this will be the place of his death.

For the roles of Oedipus, Polynices and Theseus the director chose Federico Vanni, Antonio Gargiulo and Giuseppe Bisogno who he worked with when producing “The Taming of the Shrew”. Antigone was played by Julia Vysotskaya.

Even before the premiere the play was being described as one of the most anticipated premieres in Italy. Tickets sold out a few weeks prior to the premiere. Critics and audiences praised the new version by Konchalovsky, and the actors were repeatedly encored.

Andrei Konchalovsky talks about the play: “Sophocles, Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Chekhov and Strindberg created works that can be described as eternal, and you can find something common between them, which is the attempt of a genius to understand the mysteries of mankind and the world itself. Trying to understand doesn’t mean to realise. That is why these works are a mystery themselves. The director’s job is to try to understand the same mysteries of mankind and the universe. It is equally difficult to stage Sophocles or Chekhov’s works because you feel like climbing a glass pyramid. Every century has its own outstanding view of these great works.”

The Teatro Olimpico, opened in 1585, is one of the oldest theatres in the world. Symbolically, “Oedipus at Colonus” was the first performance on its stage. The theatre still has original decorations from the 16th century that were used in the performance by the famous Russian director.

Photos by Colorfoto Artigiana — Vicenza

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