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01 November 2023
Aspiring performers and actors have a unique opportunity to bring to life a modernisation of an ancient Greek tragedy when Horsham’s Smart Artz Theatre stages its latest show.
Horsham Town Hall has received funding and called on the theatre group to perform Robert Fagles’ translation of ‘Oedipus the King’, which will appear on the VCE reading list from next year.
The play, which will occur in a modern, corporate setting, explores the themes of freewill, fate and control across an approximate 90-minute run time.
Director Amy Anselmi said it was a ‘huge display of faith’ and the group was ‘honoured’ to bring the play to audiences – particularly in the wake of a ‘modern-day plague’ of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“The play starts with Oedipus and Creon trying to work out how to rid Thebes of a plague. I’m sure that if Dan Andrews and Brett Sutton had been in that time, they would have gone to see an oracle – which is what everyone did at the time,” Ms Anselmi said.
“It’s played as a mystery, but the audience is not in the dark – we know exactly what’s coming.
“It’s like when you see Romeo and Juliet. You can still get swept up in the story and the tragedy of it, even though you know the ending.
“Part of the hook for an audience is watching Oedipus go through this process of trying to find the murderer of Laius to end the plague that is in Thebes, when you know what he’s going to find. It’s that delicious agony.”
Education consultant Brandi Galpin said: “It makes you contemplate what would happen if you discovered the unthinkable about yourself and what the ramifications would be.”
Ms Galpin said the opportunity to film the play also meant it would reach people well beyond its mid-year staging in Horsham.
“As a teacher, I’ve looked far and wide for resources often and I know that kids particularly love it when the traditional text is transformed into a different setting and the opportunity to imagine the tragedy in that way,” she said.
The roles of Oedipis and Tiresias have been pre-cast, with award-winning ‘The Laramie Project’ actor Adam Roche taking the leading role. “It’s a huge role and we’re thrilled to have such a strong actor who is also such a kind, supportive and generous person to work with, and who aligns with our ethos of nurturing actors, in a safe space, to learn the craft – no matter their previous experience,” Ms Anselmi said.
People can book an audition between November 12 and 14.
The production team is seeking a ‘gender-blind’ cast of about 12 people and while there is no lower age limit of cast members, they must look as if they are working age.
Information, including a link to book auditions and excerpts to prepare for audition, are available via the Smart Artz Theatre Facebook page.
Rehearsals will begin in February and commitments are relative to the time the role appears on stage. Co-producer Louise Kelly emphasised that people of all experience levels could apply for the play, and drew correlations to modern TV shows such as ‘Yellowstone’, ‘West Wing’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ as relatable tales to ‘Oedipus the King’.
“It’s a nice way to get yourself out there and known within the arts community,” she said.
Co-producer Scott Robinson said: “We’re looking for people who are prepared and willing to do a little bit of exploration.”
Ms Anselmi said members of the Melbourne theatre community were expected to attend the show, in light of the group’s successful staging of ‘The Laramie Project’ last year, winning several Victorian Drama League awards.
– Jessica Grimble
The entire November 1, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!