Theater review: After Dec. 12-13 performances, Pendragon’s ‘Oedipus’ will travel to area schools
Pendragon Theatre is getting classical with this winter’s production of “Oedipus.”
The production is finishing up a run at Pendragon’s Saranac Lake theatre, and the actors and crew will hit the road and bring the show to schools throughout the Adirondacks for the rest of the winter.
Pendragon’s Managing Director David Zwierankin said the theater has set up a number of performances for the tour, including some in Lake Placid, Glens Falls, Lowville, Old Forge, North Creek, Clayton and at SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam. He’s working on ironing out details with schools in Lisbon and the Plattsburgh area as well.
“We normally play for about 5,000 children a year between this and the kids’ show,” Zwierankin said.
Last year, Pendragon didn’t get a ton of interest from schools for the show it offered, “Terra Nova,” because teachers didn’t feel like they had time to take students out of class just to see a good play. So Zwierankin said that this year, they chose a script that is part of the New York state school curriculum. That way, teachers can have their students watch the play rather than try to digest it as they read a script from a textbook and then study it in class. They plan to do the same thing next year with Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.”
“Oedipus” was originally written by ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, but Pendragon will perform a translation by Steven Berkoff. Zwierankin said he’s heard of it referred to as “the first play.” It’s certainly an early one, dating back to around the 5th century B.C.
The production brings out that history by starting with each actor on a pedestal, posed like an ancient Greek statue.
Ancient Greek theater began with the use of a chorus, though show Director Karen Lordi-Kirkham plays with the chorus concept in unique ways to make it more memorable and attention grabbing than normal.
“I have never been so entertained and captivated by a Greek chorus,” Zwierankin said. “It’s usually the most boring part of the show.”
He said he’s looking forward to seeing students’ reactions. Besides a play that’s part of school curriculum, Zwierankin said they wanted one that would be interesting to students.
“I think it will definitely keep the kids’ attention,” Zwierankin said.
Pendragon’s winter show usually plays a run at home during Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival, but this one may not, since the theater plans to host another performing artist that week. So unless people work in a school where the tour will stop, the last chance for members of the public to see “Oedipus” may be next week.
The run wraps up with 7:30 p.m. shows Thursday and Friday, Dec. 12 and 13. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and $12 for students.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.