Sophocles’s Greek Trilogy
Adaptation: Syed Ali Ahsan & Shudhangshuronjon Gosh
Design & Direction: Ashim Das
First Staged On: 12 April, 2005 at D. C. Hill Open Arena
Sophocles (496-406 B.C) was born in Colonus, not far from Athens, the city whose culture would shape the dramatist. The son of an armor manufacturer, Sophocles held a number of significant political positions in addition to being one of the best dramatists in his age, an age in which his dramatic peers included the famous playwrights Euripides and Aeschylus. He lived and wrote during an era known as the Golden age of Athens, a time of transition for Greece, when political and cultural events were changing and shaping Athenian culture. Sophocles was also an actor and performed in many of his early works. Athens held a dramatic competition every year, at the festival of Dionysus. Sophocles won first prize 18 times at the festival. Year after year, Sophocles tragedies gained recognition as among the best dramas written at a time when competition was at its highest. The fact that his works are studied today, approximately 2,400 years after they were written, is a testament to the power of his words and the impact that stories have on current culture.
Of over hundred plays written by Sophocles only seven survive and three of them, the tragedies of Oedipus namely- Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone are based on Theban legends. The synopsis of this trilogy which is consistent in theme and character is as follows- The abode of Cadmus was burnt to ashes because of wrath of the Gods. After long struggle Cadmus and his later posterity came to power one after another. At one point Oedipus came to the throne of Thebes. But predestined suffering dragged him to the brink of that formidable sin and execution of the Oracle came true without his prior-knowledge." The Oracle was that he was destined one day to kill his father and to become his own mother's husband." Oedipus had to pass through unbearable anguish and trauma, and his descendents also became the victim of that curse. Etiocles and Polynices Oedipus's two sons met their ends in a duel and his daughter Antigone was buried alive at her uncle Creon's behest. The entire family met their collapse for the cursed whim of destiny. Ever-increasing crime dragged them hereditarily to this inevitable doom.
Staging the Theban plays, the Trilogy, of a great master playwright Sophocles is a challenge for me. I read Oedipus and other plays more than 100 times. In every seconds I was thrilled, mesmerised and spell-bounded by the kniting of plots and use of the riddles and power of unwritten law. References to eyesight and vision, both literal and metaphorical, are very frequent in all three of the Theban plays. Quite often, the image of clear vision is used as a metaphore for knowledge and insight. Overall, the plays seem to say that, human being can demonstrate remarkable power of intelectual penetration and insight, and that they have a great capacity for khowledge, but that even the smartest human being is liable to error, that the human capability for knowledge is ultimately quite limited and unreliable.
Performing Trilogy, in a row, is an extreme effort and I believe, my Fameans were faithful and have utilised their capability for knowing the unknowing, reveal the truth. They have embraced the challenge with an aim to dazzale the viewers of the Modern time, with limited resources - unlimted intrerest.
THE THESPIANS OF THE THEABAN PLAYS:
Antigone: Poly Chowdhury Boby
Ismene: Akhi Majumder/Nazia Tabassum Nancy
Creon: Al Nomaan/Rumal Barua
Hemen: Mubidur Rahman Sujat
Teiresias: Kamal Barua
Attendants of Creon: Salahuddin Mahmud, Kamal Barua
Chorus of Elders of Colonus: Shahidul Alam Sabit, Nishigandha Das Gupta,
Azim Uddin, Prem Pathak, Khadijatul Kubra Rishika, Bappi Sikder, Swanupama Sengupta,
Sanowar Sumon, Ashrafa Hossain, Dipta Chakrabarty, Sabiha Binte Jashim, Utpal Das Gupta
Set, Light, Costume & Music Design: Ashim Das
Music Control: Kamal Barua/ Abdul Kader Jitu/ Sohrab Hiro
Props Making: Amllan Barua
Mask Making: Showkat Ali
Make-up: Shahe noor Sarwar/ Tapos Chakraborty
Set Making: Abdul Malek
Production Manager: Showmen Rudra
Acknowledgement: Dulal Dasgupta