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Ødipus REC.

Music theater in German (and English)

for countertenor, actor, child actor, bass clarinet (doubling clarinet), piano (doubling synthesizer), percussion (doubling no-input mixer), electric guitar and cello (2019/20)

70 minutes

The Navidsons

texts: Sophocles (translated by Friedrich Hölderlin), Lisa Danulat, Eloain Lovis Hübner

dramaturgy: Maria Huber

composition: Eloain Lovis Hübner

staging: Till Wyler von Ballmoos

scenography: Tassilo Tesche

actor (Oedipus): Thomas Douglas

countertenor (Tiresias): Michael Taylor

child actor (Boy): Frederic Schultze

Ensemble Lemniscate (Azra Ramić, Gilles Grimaître, Miguel Ángel García Martín, Daniel Moreira, Ellen Fallowfield)


January 18/19, 2020, Gare du Nord Basel

January 23/24/25, 2020, Tojo Theater Bern

April 4, 2021, Theater im Pumpenhaus Münster (live stream)

Open Guerilla Work Station:

May 19-22, 2018, Operadagen Rotterdam

Click here to watch the complete audio/video recording on the website of The Navidsons.

How much insight is possible in a world in which we are constantly confronted with images and information? Are we blinded by the constant fow of visual information? The excessive pictoriality of our society, driven by economic interests, obscures the realities underlying it. Ødipus REC. takes Oedipus’ key encounter with Tiresias as its point of departure and questions the ancient myth anew in terms of its topicality. It is about Oedipus’ guilt, about the blind spot of one’s own seeing, about the unsaid and unheard.
How do we – in a visually overstrained information society – move away from passive watching to a committed insight?
– Listening as utopia.
Ødipus REC. is a newly composed musical theatre, which, starting from the key encounter of Oedipus with Tiresias, reexamines the ancient myth in terms of its topicality. Tiresias – woman and man at the same time, mother of four children and infallible seer – and Oedipus – just ruler of Thebes, liberator of the city, foundling but arrogant examining magistrate – meet in an iconic scene, but do not encounter each other. It is about Oedipus’ guilt, about the blind spot of one’ own vision, about the unsaid and unheard. It is also about impossible mutual understanding, non-communication and unasked answers to unthinkable questions. The production deals with two worlds whose opposing relationship could hardly be more relevant: The world of the visible, a world we know all too well of overexposure, of (mis)glare, of visual abundance and obviousness. On the other hand, there is a world of the invisible, of the blind seeing, speaking for all those who are drowned in the ever-present sea of images, for all that is not represented in it or simply can no longer be perceived. The questions that have arisen for The Navidsons from this setting are more relevant than ever: How can two absolutely opposing systems understand each other at all – how does such a clash work? How can we – for example in a visually completely overwhelmed information society – move away from pure, passive, uninvolved spectatorship to active, engaged cognition?
The two parts of Oedipus and Tiresias are arranged as contrasting as possible in every respect: Tiresias in black latex skin, Oedipus in a white suit, Tiresias singing in falsetto, Oedipus speaking in the chest voice. Tiresias’ text basis is the classical Hölderlin translation (1804) of Sophocles’ ancient tragedy Oedipus Rex, Oedipus monologues in a completely new text by the young play-wright Lisa Danulat (born 1983). In the end, however, the real “star” of the play is the boy, intended in Sophocles/Hölderlin as the mute companion of the blind seer and returned to us as a dutiful yet combative working-class child who succeeds in breaking out of the unsolvable dichotomous cycle and overcoming the confict between power and truth.

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In preparation of Ødipus REC., The Navidsons met from May 19 to 22, 2018, at the Operadagen Rotterdam to develop their upcoming production in the form of an “Open Guerilla Workstation”. The publicly accessible platform makes visible and audible what takes place conventionally behind the scenes, in protected, but also “exchange-hostile” spaces. The Navidsons opened their working meetings to the public and other collaborators to start a dialogue about the metaphorical meaning of blindness, about questions of the practical implementation of sound, music, stage, etc. and about compositional sketches and dramaturgical ideas of their planned music theatre productions.

This workstation is a further development of concepts about multiple authorship from the production The Navidsons Records (Münchener Biennale / Konzert Theater Bern 2016). Within the framework of Operadagen Rotterdam, the action is equally an artistic statement on a world that is increasingly moving into protectionist, anti-democratic structures and is abolishing the diversity of the common interest and access to open spaces.

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