Indiana Daily Student (IDS)

By Sanya Ali

Published 10/15/14 10:07pm Updated 10/16/14 10:31pm

The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center will stage “King Oedipus,” a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King,” Friday through Oct. 25.

The script was written by Kelly Lusk, a recent IU MFA graduate, according to the Playwrights’ Center.

The show starts at the birth of Oedipus and follows his life through the original play ending, though Director Paul Daily said parts of this story, especially the ending, divert from the original myth.

“We see the hallmarks of the Oedipus myth,” Daily said. “We see Oedipus defeat the Sphinx. We see him marry his mother and bring plague down on Thebes. In this version, though, we also get to see Oedipus in love before meeting Jocasta.”

Daily said he saw the script multiple times throughout the past nine months and he constantly felt engaged by Lusk’s writing style.

“A new script changes radically during development,” Daily said. “(Lusk) and I had many discussions before he wrote it, and the first time I read it was four drafts ago. Kelly’s writing is exciting. You want to read the next line as soon as you finish the one you’re on, and this play was no exception.”

Daily said he decided to direct this show because it highlights that people rely too much on the idea of fate.

“I’ve always thought that if Oedipus wanted to avoid his prophesied fate of killing his father and marrying his mother, all he had to do was swear never to kill anyone and remain abstinent his entire life,” Daily said. “First thing he does is kill a stranger on the road and then shortly thereafter marry a woman his mother’s age.”

The show’s cast features students from both Ivy Tech and IU, and Daily said each of the auditions he saw impressed him, making selection for roles difficult.

“You go into auditions knowing what direction you want to take the play and look for actors with characteristics that help tell the story,” Daily said. “You have to decide if you want your lead to be a strong decision maker or a happy-go-lucky spirit.”

Ben Jeatran, a sophomore at IU, plays Laius in the production. He said he has enjoyed taking on his role and experiencing the show transform from parts into a whole.

“Definitely my favorite part is watching each piece of the show come together,” Jeatran said. “With each step and each practice we do, elements we have practiced get refined and makes for a greater show. Watching each scene evolve is a real reward for all the hard work.”

Marissa Whitmer, a junior at Ivy Tech, heard about the show through Daily, whom she has worked with on two shows prior.

“This play is really fun for me because I have three different characters,” Whitmer said. “I’m part of the plagued chorus, I’m part of the Oracle’s voice and I’m a Sphinx cubling. So the chance to play all these different roles is a blast for me.”

Daily’s favorite part of the experience was learning some new techniques to use on stage.

“I love it when I explore things I’ve never tried before, so this play has been thrilling for me,” Daily said. “We’ve got shadow puppets, illusions and otherworldly creatures. They’ve all been fun to learn about.”

Jeatran said he hopes the subtleties are well-received by the audience.

“There’s a lot of hidden elements thrown in the performance we hope a lot of people enjoy,” Jeatran said.

Daily said he feels the opportunity to work with Lusk’s script is one the actors will cherish as they move forward in their acting careers.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Ivy Tech and our students,” Daily said. “Having a play written for us is quite exciting, and allowing the students to explore a script that has never been touched before is an opportunity not all students get to experience.”

The show will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Oct. 23, 24 and 25. Tickets cost $15 for the general public and $5 for students and seniors.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.