Death – it belongs to everyone!

Oedipus Schmoedipus takes the all-time greatest plays, picks out the death scenes, mixes them together and hands them back to the people. After all, death belongs to everyone.

For this mammoth undertaking of gore, laments, requiems and war cries, Australia’s silliest/smartest theatre makers,post, are joined by 25 volunteers – a new cast rehearsed fresh for each performance. Cunningly and cleverly carried off, Oedipus Schmoedipus is a democratic theatrical extravaganza 2,500 years in the making.

Fed up with white men staging the deaths of white men in plays written by white men, the white ladies of post have pirated the classics to confront the great unknown. This is their bid for theatre history – either to join it, or wreck it.

A democratic theatrical extravaganza! This show is about death: real death, fake death, and the Western theatrical Canon.

Oedipus Schmoedipus is an intentionally impossible task, an ambitious epic complied of all the death scenes ever written. These death scenes are dismembered, catalogued in a computer database and reordered to establish new narratives, and a new theatre show: a collective manifesto on death.

We see Death and ‘The Canon’ as inextricably intertwined; ‘live’ performance, a ‘dead’ language, an actor’s ‘presence’, or an author’s legacy. In Oedipus Schmoedipus, the words, scenes and images of death are willfully destructed and cut into sentences and key phrases. Then these texts of the great ‘immortals’ are pieced back together along new lines of connection. Like fastidious decoupage artists or clever scrap-bookers, we recompile these existing words to form something new; a contemporary response to the greatest of mysteries: the afterlife.

25 local volunteer performers each show

Each performance of Oedipus Schmoedipus is done with a new cast of 25 locally recruited volunteers. This is a great opportunity for post to engage with local people in each community we tour to, and for presenters to offer an a chance for audiences and communities to engage with their program, with theatre-making, and with touring artists.

Photos by Ellis Parrinder (1-4), Sarah Walker (5-13, 16), screen grabs from video by Kate Blackmore (14, 15, 17, 18)

International touring in 2017, and national touring in 2018. Watch this space for details.

Reviews

“Brilliant… shockingly funny to watch.”

– John McCallum, The Australian

“Marvellous medley pokes fun at the classics. ★★★★ Their satirical lecture on the canon can be riotously silly, but it lands stinging blows on theatre’s classism.”

– Rebecca Harkins-Cross, The Age

“The makeshift chorus is gorgeous in its authenticity… Watching the volunteers find their footing with a youthful joy is endlessly fascinating, amusing and relatable. … equally joyful, dark and moving… It is a touching performance that speaks to what is perhaps the one universal truth: we are all going to die but in the words of Bernard Shaw, “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

Tennessee Mynott-Rudland, AussieTheatre.com

What’s so great about Oedipus Schmoedipus is that Coombs Marr and Grigor unpack famous death quotes without a hint of pretension… whilst still managing to wittily comment on notions of gender, sexuality and religion. Oedipus Schmoedipus successfully straddles the line between traditional dramatic notions of death and sly postmodern commentary… Who knew death could be so funny?

Reuben Liversidge, ArtsHub

“Provoking, endlessly glib, yet curiously joyous, I’d put money on this being the most divisive show of the year.”

Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald

Creative Team

Directed By Zoë Coombs Marr & Mish Grigor
Composer James Brown
Designer Robert Cousins
Lighting Designer Matthew Marshall
Dramaturge Anne-Louise Sarks
Fight Director Scott Witt
With Zoë Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor & 25 fabulous volunteers

Written By post (Zoë Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor & Natalie Rose) after Aeschylus, Anon, Barrie, Behn, Boucicault, Büchner, Chekhov, Euripides, Gogol, Goldsmith, Gorky, Hugo, Ibsen, Jonson, Marlowe, Mayakovsky, Molière, Pirandello, Plautus, Racine, Seneca, Shakespeare, and many many more)

Produced by Intimate Spectacle

Production Notes

Duration: 60 minutes. Touring team: 5. Suits medium sized studio (preferred) or proscenium (possible) theatre, with minimum 8m x 8m stage.

Requires the presenter to source 25 volunteer performers for each performance (a new cast each show). Diversity of age, gender and cultural background is essential for the performance to work well. Volunteers required for a 3-4 hour rehearsal call, after the show has been fully teched, and preferably the day of their performance.

Acknowledgements

Originally produced by Belvoir & post, with support from Managing and Producing Services (MAPS) for Artists NSW, a joint initiative of the Australia Council and Arts NSW, managed by Performing Lines.

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