Friday, April 1, 2005

Rumors are wrong; 'Jocasta' clothes stay on

By Neil Mulka

The rumors floating around the department of English aren’t true. No one is naked in the English Alternative Theatre’s production of Michele Fabien’s full-length play “Jocasta.”

Some people in the department might be sensitive about partial nudity, but the showing of skin is comparable to a beach movie, said Zacory Boatright, Topeka senior and stage manager.

However, “Jocasta,” a retelling of classical Greek playwright Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” from the viewpoint of the queen and mother, has intimate scenes with the actors wearing revealing costumes. “Oedipus,” the Greek myth where Oedipus kills his father and then marries Jocasta, his mother, is taught in freshman English classes.

The nudity rumor might have originated from an e-mail sent to teachers explaining that this version contained more mature material than what’s taught in class, said Paul Lim, director of the play and English professor.

“It’s hot, it’s sexy and very now,” Boatright said.

The theatre is producing Fabien’s version of the myth so students who are studying the tale can see it come to life, Lim said. It will also inspire classroom discussion and give a new perspective of the play, he said.

“So often, modern audiences shy away from Greek theatre,” said Dianne Reyner, Lawton, Okla., graduate student, who plays Jocasta in the play. “I think it will enhance people’s understanding from it.”

Fabien’s play was written in 1981 and was intended to be a one-man show, but Lim adapted it to include a five-person cast featuring a younger and older Jocasta and Oedipus and a narrator.

When Lim read the script, he said he heard five voices in his head from the lines.

Making it into a five-person play shows the conflict between the characters better than the one-person version, Boatright said.

One example is that the play shows what actually happens to Jocasta, whereas she was off-stage in Sophocles’ script.

“In Sophocles’ play, Jocasta is seen briefly and kills herself,” Lim said.

Fabien’s play is rooted with modern-feminist themes and female desire, Lim said.

“It’s about how men look at women and how women should be allowed to look at men,” Lim said. “It’s more acceptable in society for an older man to date a younger woman, but it’s frowned upon for an older woman to date a younger man.”

Original Story Located Here

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