Sophocles

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Plays by Sophocles

Antigone (trans. Taylor)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In his Guide to Greek Theatre and Drama, Kenneth McLeish writes: “Antigone is a textbook example of how to develop one short episode from a myth-story to make a full-scale tragedy articulating universal themes and meanings… The fact that her story has had such an effect on world consciousness – she is one of the best loved characters in all Greek myth – is entirely due to the issues which Sophocles draws from the myth, and to his portrayal of Antigone herself, pulled between heroic certainty and all too human frailty.”

The story of one sister’s loyalty to both her brothers, regardless of their acts or opposing political beliefs, Antigone is one of the most consistently popular plays in the history of drama. This translation, by Don Taylor, was commissioned by the BBC, and was first broadcast in autumn, 1986.

Antigone (trans. Wertenbaker)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Sophocles' Theban plays – Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Kolonos and Antigone – stand at the fountainhead of world drama; they tell the story of Oedipus, Jocasta and Antigone, and the ancient Greek theme of power both mortal and godlike is brought to the fore with stunning vitality. Antigone completes the trilogy. Oedipus' daughter protests the lack of funeral rites for her brother Polyneikes after his death in the civil war of Thebes, leading to a final tragedy.

Timberlake Wertenbaker translation of Sophocles' trilogy of Theban plays was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, in 1991, under the collective title of The Thebans.

Electra (Sophocles)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Electra is a story of revenge, of children on their mother, and the grief and fury of a woman when her filial duties are split down the middle.

When the victorious King Agamemnon returns from Troy, carting his new mistress Cassandra in tow, his wife Clytemnestra murders him. This initial act of revenge sparks off a long held grudge, kindled in the exiled and presumed dead Orestes, twin brother of Electra.

In his introduction, J. Michael Walton writes that 'Electra has fed on her hate, absorbing humiliation almost with relish. As the play progresses, so her passion is revealed as having dimensions.' It is these dimensions, rather than the moral conundrum of matricide, which Sophocles brings to life so starkly in his version of the well-known Greek myth.

Oedipus at Kolonos (trans. Wertenbaker)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Sophocles' Theban plays – Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Kolonos and Antigone – stand at the fountainhead of world drama; they tell the story of Oedipus, Jocasta and Antigone, and the ancient Greek theme of power both mortal and godlike is brought to the fore with stunning vitality. Oedipus at Kolonos is the middle play in the trilogy. In the aftermath of the events in Thebes, the blinded Oedipus is led to Kolonos by his daughter Antigone and his tragic fate is completed.

Timberlake Wertenbaker translation of Sophocles' trilogy of Theban plays was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, in 1991, under the collective title of The Thebans.

audio Oedipus the King

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

One of the first and greatest of all Greek tragedies, Harry Lennix stars as Oedipus, the king who unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother.

Includes a Q & A session with translator and director Nicholas Rudall. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Spencer Garrett as Shepard and Chorus Francis Guinan as Messenger and Chorus Gregory Itzin as Creon and Chorus Charles Kimbrough as Priest Of Zeus and Chorus Harry J. Lennix as Oedipus Rod Mclachlan as Second Messenger and Chorus Carolyn Seymour as Jocasta W. Morgan Sheppard as Tiresias Translated and directed by Nicholas Rudall. Recorded before a live audience at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Featuring: Francis Guinan, Charles Kimbrough, Harry J. Lennix, Spencer Garrett, Rod McLachlan, Carolyn Seymour, W. Morgan Sheppard

Oedipus Tyrannos (trans. Wertenbaker)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Sophocles' Theban plays – Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Kolonos and Antigone – stand at the fountainhead of world drama; they tell the story of Oedipus, Jocasta and Antigone, and the ancient Greek theme of power both mortal and godlike is brought to the fore with stunning vitality. Oedipus Tyrannos begins the trilogy. The king of Thebes' investigation into the cause of the plague on his city uncovers a terrible and personal secret.

Timberlake Wertenbaker translation of Sophocles' trilogy of Theban plays was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, in 1991, under the collective title of The Thebans.

video Theban Plays: Antigone (BBC film adaptation)

BBC Video
Type: Video

The story of one sister’s loyalty to both her brothers, regardless of their acts or opposing political beliefs, Antigone is one of the most consistently popular plays in the history of drama. This translation, by Don Taylor, was commissioned by the BBC, and was first broadcast in autumn, 1986.

Credits:

Director: Don Taylor; Producer: Louis Marks; Playwright: Sophocles; Translator: Don Taylor; Composer: Derek Bourgeois; Conductor: Derek Bourgeois; Advisor: Geoffrey Lewis (on classical matters).

Cast: Patrick Barr: Theban Elder (Chorus), Rosalie: Crutchley Euridice: Paul Daneman: Theban Elder (Chorus), Donald Eccles: Theban Elder (Chorus), Robert Eddison: Theban Elder (Chorus) John Gielgud: Teiresias, Patrick Godfrey: Theban Elder (Chorus) Mike Gwilym: Haemon, Bernard Hill: Messenger, Ewan Hooper: Theban Elder (Chorus), Peter Jeffrey: Theban Elder (Chorus) Noel Johnson: Theban Elder (Chorus). Robert Lang: Theban Elder (Chorus), John Ringham: Theban Elder (Chorus), Paul Russell: Boy, Tony Selby: Soldier, John Shrapnel: Creon, Juliet Stevenson: Antigone, Gwen Taylor: Ismene, Frederick Treves: Theban Elder (Chorus).

Distributed under licence from Educational Publishers LLP

video Theban Plays: Oedipus At Colonus (BBC film adaptation)

BBC Video
Type: Video

Sophocles' Theban plays – Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Colonos and Antigone – stand at the fountainhead of world drama; they tell the story of Oedipus, Jocasta and Antigone, and the ancient Greek theme of power, both mortal and godlike is brought to the fore with stunning vitality. Oedipus at Colonos is the middle play in the trilogy. In the aftermath of the events in Thebes, the blinded Oedipus is led to Colonos by his daughter Antigone and his tragic fate is completed.

Credits:

Director: Don Taylor; Producer: Louis Marks. Starring: Michael Pennington, John Gielgud, Cyril Cusack, Claire Bloom, Anthony Quayle.

Distributed under licence from Educational Publishers LLP

video Theban Plays: Oedipus The King (BBC film adaptation)

BBC Video
Type: Video

This Greek tragedy tells the story of Oedipus, King of Thebes and husband of Jocasta. When the discovery is made that he is the son of the same Jocasta and of the previous king Laius (whom he has unwittingly murdered), Oedipus blinds himself and Jocasta commits suicide.

Credits:

Director: Don Taylor; Producer: Louis Marks; Playwright: Sophocles; Translator: Don Taylor, Composer: Derek Bourgeois; Conductor: Derek Bourgeois; Advisor: Geoffrey Lewis.

Cast: Claire Bloom: Jocasta, Michael Byrne: Theban Senator, Ernest Clark: Theban Senator, David Collings, Theban Senator, Cyril Cusack: Priest, Donald Eccles: Theban Senator, Robert Eddison: Theban Senator, John Gielgud: Teiresias, Edward Hardwicke: Theban Senator, Denys Hawthorne: Theban Senator, Kelly Huntley: Ismene, Noel Johnson: Theban Senator, Gerard Murphy: Messenger, Michael Pennington: Oedipus, Norman Rodway: Corinthian Messenger, Clifford Rose: Theban Senator, Alan Rowe: Theban Senator, Lincoln Saunders: Teiresias’ Boy, Cassie Shilling: Antigone, John Shrapnel: Creon, Nigel Stock: Theban Senator, David Waller: Shepherd, John Woodnutt: Theban Senator

Distributed under licence from Educational Publishers LLP

Sophocles (496-406 bc) is believed to have written well over one hundred plays, of which only seven survive: Women of Trachis, Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus.