In 2020 during lockdown, Assistant Director of Drama Robyn Peers watched a performance of Aeschylus’ play, The Persians – streamed live from the ancient theatre at Epidarus – reawakening her long-held ambition to direct a classical play. The joint Christ’s College and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School performance of Oedipus Rex was an updated version of Sophocles’ 429BC play, using a modern translation and a mixture of ancient and contemporary conventions. The Greek tradition contrasts dialogue by the main characters with the storytelling and commentary by the chorus. Robyn says the challenge for her company was to bring this potentially static theatre form to life. “I was fortunate to have a superb cast, willing to take risks, experiment and run with new ideas. The chorus worked hard with choral speaking and movement to enhance their words. They worked effectively to ensure that they learnt not only their lines, but the words around them, so they were faultless in their very difficult presentations.
“The main characters gave Sophocles’ words their all.
many of the chorus scenes; Philippa Dye who effortlessly sourced the costuming; and Grant Hadley, whose work sourcing and installing the metal curtain for the set, and lighting it so effectively, made the cast’s work shine. “The student technical crew also worked superbly, with the stage management, lighting and sound. “The team together achieved my vision and I am very proud of our production.”
Special mention must go to the huge work of Nathan Orchard, who carried the play, as Oedipus moved from confident king to degraded exile, and Mimi Boister, who clearly showed the audience Jocasta’s dawning understanding of the hideous situation she found herself in. “We were backed up by the Drama team, especially Hannah Clarkson who used choreography to enliven
Christ’s College Canterbury
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