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Students centre stage in timely take on Greek tragedy

From the outset, it appears King Oedipus has it all – power, money and love. But things are not as they seem.

Theatre students at the University of Southern Queensland’s School of Creative Arts are set to bring the Greek tragedy to life this week in their first third year show, King Oedipus by Sophocles

The play, which is translated by Kenneth McLeish and directed by Marcus Oborn, will run from June 2 to June 5 at the A Block Theatre.  

“It’s about a power-hungry maniac that is in charge of the city of Thebes, which has been under attack from a plague,” Mr Oborn said. 

“It opens with the people of Thebes bursting through the castle gates and asking for help, while Oedipus sits in his marble palace doing nothing.

“In the end he gets his comeuppance.”

Despite being almost 2500 years old, there are distinct parallels between Oedipus and modern day life, according to Mr Oborn. 

“Audiences that come and see this play will connect with it straight away, especially after 18 months of the pandemic” he said.

“It’s such a relevant story – we have this egotistical character being held responsible for the well-being of everybody, something he refuses to do. 

“What is great about this play is it’s a translation of the classical text but it’s written in a contemporary way.

“So while it challenges the students to work with dense, complicated text it’s also familiar to them in terms of the phrasing and language, as opposed to something like Shakespeare.” 

Third year theatre student Griffin Walsh will play Oedipus in the production.  

“It’s always a privilege to play a main character, but it’s also a big responsibility, especially with one as complex as Oedipus,” Mr Walsh said. 

“Coming into opening night, everyone is excited – it has been a monumental task to get to this point. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing audience members back in the seats.”

Oedipus is the first of two productions for the third year students.

“In second semester, they will work on their second and final show for the year,” Mr Oborn said.

“It will be another full scale production in the arts theatre and they will work with a nationally acclaimed director, which we are very excited about.

“I think it will be an invaluable experience for our students and the Toowoomba artistic community.

“We will release more details on this shortly.”

King Oedipus by Sophocles will run from 7pm to 8pm on June 2, 3, 4 and 5 at the A Block Theatre.

director of play standing centre stage
University of Southern Queensland’s King Oedipus by Sophocles director Marcus Oborn.