"Tragedies are not about heroes, they are about us ordinary people. At first, they may seem like an exotic painting, but on closer examination, they become a mirror. The process can remind us that if we ever point a finger at anyone else, we will discover that we have three more fingers, pointing at us, even if hidden in the palm of our hand. Oedipus does just that when he declares that he will find, punish and humiliate the murderer. But the murderer is himself."
(Declan Donnellan / excerpt from the programme book of Oedipus Rex)
Oedip rege is part of the tragedies of the Teban cycle, Oidiopoidia, is a tragedy written by Sophocles (ca. 496 - 406 BC), dated around 430-428 BC. Sophocles assimilates the myth of the Labdacids and picks up the story from the time when he is already king of Thebes and the city is captured at a critical moment - the plague epidemic of 430 BC, the second year of the Peloponnesian War. Oedipus' subjects come to the palace, begging him to save the city from the plague. Creon, Oedipus' brother-in-law, brings a verdict from the oracle at Delphi: the plague will not end until the murderer of Laios, the former king of Thebes, who had been killed many years before, is driven from the city. Oedipus is once again in a position to save Thebes - as he did when he defeated the Sphinx - and the Delphi ultimatum - solves the crime, or the plague continues - makes Oedipus his own detective and judge. Oedipus launches an investigation to find out the truth about his origin: Oedipus is the son of Laius, whom he murdered without knowing who he is and then married his mother, Jocasta, who bore him four children. After learning the truth, Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus gouges out his eyes.
Declan Donnellan was born in England in 1953 to Irish parents. He grew up in London.
In 1981, Declan and his partner Nick Ormerod founded Cheek by Jowl. The company's first production was The Country Wife and premiered in 1981 at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Since then, the company has travelled the world with performances in English, French and Russian.
In 1989, he became associate director of the Royal National Theatre in London. His productions at the theatre include: Fuenteovejuna de Lope De Vega, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street de Stephen Sondheim, The Mandate by Nikolai Erdman and both sides of the Angels in America by Tony Kushner.
Donnellan directed for the Avignon Festival (Cidul); Maly Drama Theatre from St. Petersburg (The Winter’s Tale), Noel Coward Theatre (Shakespeare in Love), Piccolo Teatro Milano (The Revenger’s Tragedy) and also, Falstaff, pentru Festivalul de la Salzburg, împreună cu Claudio Abbado. El a creat și a regizat spectacolele balet Romeo and Julieta and Hamlet pentru Teatrul Balșoi din Moscova.
Donnellan wrote the play Lady Betty and translated works by De Musset, Erdman, Sophocles and Lermontov.
He has received numerous awards in London, Moscow, Paris and New York, including four Olivier Awards, the Order of Charlemagne of Andrei, the International Stanislavski Prize in Moscow and the Golden Lion in Venice.
His first film, Bel Ami, co-directed with Nick Ormerod and starring Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci and Robert Pattinson, premiered in 2012.
His book, The actor and the targetwas published in Russian in 1999 and has since been translated into over 15 languages including French, Spanish, Italian, German, Romanian and Mandarin.
The third French and fourth English editions were published in 2018.
His book written with Arantxa Vela, Donnellan on Shakespeare, will be published in Romanian in 2022.
A sequel to this book will be published later this year. His "not true but useful" podcasts presented by Cheek by Jowl with Lucie Dawkins have been downloaded in over 100 countries.
Nick Ormerod studied Theater Design at the Wimbledon School of Art.
He founded Cheek by Jowl with Declan Donnellan in 1981. Since then, the company has created shows in over 400 cities. Cheek by Jowl has also received numerous awards around the world.
Among the projects he created are: Fuenteovejuna, Peer Gynt, Sweeney Todd, The Mandate and both sides Angels in America for the National Theatre in London; The School for Scandal, King Lear and Great Expectations (which he also co-adapted) for the Royal Shakespeare Company; The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny for English National Opera; Martin Guerre, Hayfever, Antigone (West End, London); Romeo and Julieta and Hamlet for the Bolșoi Theatre; Falstaff for the Salzburg Festival.
In 2012, Ormerod co-directed the film Bel Ami with Declan Donnellan.
About Oedip sacrifice
"In what way can a man living today be drawn to the ancient myths, to the full force of Hellenic tragedy? Tragedy has not for a moment disappeared from the essence of humanity, because humanity contains it. Even today, and at this time, all the black gifts in Pandora's box are still being released into the world, and any man who struggles with the anemones of life can be considered a tragic hero.
The tragic hero stands at a crossroads in a entre-deux which is a priori exhausting. Standing at the crossroads between lucidity and irrationality, between feeling and conscience, the tragic character crosses the nerve points of his existence. His journey starts from a point where everything is good for him and ends at a point where everything is bad for him and always fatal. Oedipus makes such a journey, and his journey to the truth is also the journey to his destruction as an individual. For Oedipus the sacrifice of sight has atoning connotations. (...) Oedipus remains the disturbing image of the blinded one, son and murderer of his father Laios, fruit and graft of Jocasta, (*Radu Stanca, Oedip salvat, 1968), the heroic saviour of the city, bathed in glitter and glory, who is torn from this state of grace, discovering the essence of his guilty existence. To make his fall from the heights all the more heartbreaking, fate offers him everything: the satisfaction of victory over the Sphinx, his coronation, his marriage to Jocasta, the birth of his four children. Draped in a shining veil, Oedipus' sinister destiny consumes his entire lineage. Seeking to illuminate his existence by discovering his origin, Oedipus plunges into darkness forever."
(Haricleea Nicolau / excerpt from the programme of the show Oedip rege)
„Regizorul britanic (…) e un apropiat al așezămîntului din Bănie grație Festivalului Internațional Shakespeare. L-a impus de-a lungul sezoanelor predilecția către soluții creative generatoare de imprevizibil și frumusețe. O frumusețe a simplității, a unei simplități profunde, elaborate, a unor rezolvări surprinzătoare, transpuse de echipe actoricești care se îndrăgostesc profesional de stilul său de lucru. O simplitate rafinată, care setează direcția artistică și cucerește prin naturalețea cu care se dezvoltă la rampă. (…)
Și mai e în teza regiei o intenție foarte clară: ideea de călătorie, de parcurgere împreună a unui traseu fizic spectatori-artiști, dar mai ales ficțional, unde actorii îi ghidează pe neofiți. Un traseu estetic, un traseu catarctic, laolaltă, într-un parcurs comun. (…)
În rolul titular, Claudiu Mihail domină întreaga desfășurare. Găsește resursele și dozajul potrivite pentru a traversa gama largă și variată a stărilor ce definesc personajul. Are totul sub control, îi simți respirația și concentrarea, e vulcanic, transferă energie cînd trece pe lîngă tine ori rostește replica privindu-te fix în ochi sau atingîndu-ți brațul ca‑ntr‑o autentică agora. Căci spațiul teatrului a devenit pe rînd piața publică, sălile palatului regal, casa păstorului, drumul pe care e ucis Laios.”
Oltița Cîntec, Cînd tragedia se joacă printre spectatori / Observator cultural, nr. 1110, 26 mai 2022 https://www.observatorcultural.ro/articol/cind-tragedia-se-joaca-printre-spectatori/print/
„Proximitatea constantă dintre public și actori face din experiența spectatorială una, așa cum își dorea regizorul, foarte intimă, dar și expune enorm actorii, aflați în imposibilitatea de a se ascunde sau de a se apăra cu ajutorul decorurilor, al partenerilor și, în ultimă instanță, al distanței față de privitori. Genul acesta de interpretare, în care trebuie să fii mereu atent chiar și la nivelul vocii, nu e ceva ușor, cu atît mai mult cu cît ideea de tragedie antică predispune la ritual și gesturi ample, nu la realismul frust al unei astfel de abordări. Și nu toată lumea iese la fel de bine din confruntarea cu o astfel de intimitate de grad zero al actoriei. (…) Ceea ce este cu adevărat spectaculos în acest Oedip e claritatea cu care Declan Donnellan extrage din textul lui Sofocle o esență profund contemporană (căci etern și universal umană): trufia încercării de a înfrînge condițiile realității prin ignorarea lor. ”
Iulia Popovici, Oedip în căutarea propriei distrugeri / Observator cultural, nr. 1110 / 26 mai 2022 (https://www.observatorcultural.ro/articol/oedip-in-cautarea-propriei-distrugeri/)