NEW ORLEANS – The Dillard University Theatre Department premieres its fourth stage play of the season, The Gospel at Colonus, at the Samuel Dubois Cook Theatre on the Dillard campus from April 8–April 17, 2016. The play is an adaptation created by Lee Breuer and composer Bob Telson, of the classic Greek tragedy Oedipus at Colunus, written by Sophocles. The play is directed by Ray Vrazel, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and resident director for the DU Theatre.
“This production is the culmination of a three-year quest to bring it to the Dillard stage,” said Mr. Vrazel. “After attending a symposium, I saw an exciting way to make the ancient plays relevant to today’s audience. I have been obsessed with staging The Gospel at Colonus at Dillard since I was first introduced to it.”
The Gospel at Colonus takes the traditions of Greek theater and reimagines the timeless classic as a gospel musical within the framework of a Pentecostal church service. In the story, Sophocles’ Oedipus is a king in exile, seeking a place for proper burial. What made the story so innovative and highly regarded (Obie Award winner, 1984; Pulitzer Prize finalist, 1985; Tony Award nominee, 1988), was the giving of the storytelling duties to a Pentecostal preacher and the choir of his church. They combine to enact the story of Oedipus’ torment and ultimate redemption as a modern parable.
Other casting innovations in the performance include multiple actors changing and sharing roles, such as when The Messenger is called upon to assume the role of Oedipus in tandem with the singer, the multiplicity of Oedipus's daughters and one son when the children of Oedipus appear collectively (Ismene, Antigone, Eteocles and Polynices), and with different portions of the cast, singly and in groups, assuming the duties of the traditional Greek chorus.
Mr. Vrazel continued, “This play seems like a perfect fit for the Dillard Theatre Program’s 80th season. It is the ideal play for a college theatre production in that its mythological and literary content combined with its gospel musical form make it irresistible to young and old alike.”
Friday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 10 at 3:00 p.m.
Friday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17 at 3:00 p.m.
Samuel Dubois Cook Theatre, 2601 Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70122
Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for Dillard faculty, staff, and senior citizens, and $5 for Dillard students with a valid ID.
About the Dillard University Theatre Department
Founded in 1935, Dillard University Theatre is the oldest historically black university theatre in the country. The Theatre department provides professional training in a liberal arts context for future directors, actors, designers, managers, teachers, scholars and related theatre professionals. The department is committed, through its full time, part time and cooperating faculty, to creating globally aware artists while perpetuating the highest standards possible.