The play opens with the Sphinx, a marvel of the talented thespian Karen Baum enhanced by costume (designed by Michael Montgomery) and various special effects (kudos to the tech people). Visually, the show drabs down after that, but — the voices. The cast Stanford has assembled do declaim with the richest and most melodious voices (give him credit, too, for retaining a kind of Sophoclean rhythm in the dialogue).
Unfortunately, the arrangement of the theater — a sort of cut-off thrust design — means that most of the time, we’re looking at the backs of heads (at best, profiles). The passion, the tensions are dissipated.
After a couple of millennia, Oedipus presents no need for spoiler alerts. The proud and powerful king of Thebes slowly realizes that, as predicted by two soothsayers, he did indeed kill his father and marry his mother. Mere mortals cannot defeat the gods.
Apart from the Sphinx, the design elements are subtle and timeless. This could be Thebes 3,000 years ago or another Thebes whenever. Antonio Colaruotolo’s lighting adds dimension to Johnmichael Bohach’s set (note scenic artist Deborah Thomas). Technical director Steve Lau and Almeda Beynon’s sound design enriches the supernatural nature of the tale.
A sometimes-obstructed feast for the eyes, Oedipus Rex is a feast for the ears.