DEVELOPMENT & EVENTS
MAY 6, 2013 - STAGED READING
Please join Gia Forakis & Company
For the First Staged Reading of
A Brand New Translation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, by Mark Buchan & GiaForakis
Re-envisioned by Gia Forakis as a Greek-Noir classic.
Reception and Talk Back to Follow the Reading
With the GF&CO Acting Ensemble and Translator & Classic's Scholar Mark Buchan
May 6th, 2013
Fifth Avenue Loft
78th Fifth Avenue, 10th Floor
(Btwn 13th & 14th Streets)
New York, NY, 10011
SEATING IS LIMITED
To learn more about the future main stage production: O.REX
We successfully raised over $12,432
for GF&CO's INDIEGOGO O.REX Music Campaign!
Thank You to all who made a contribution.
GF&CO's INDIEGOGO O.REX Music Campaign!
Thank You to all who made a contribution.
Join GF&CO’s ensemble cast of underworld characters
in solving a mysterious murder as Ghost writer
Flash Handler* takes us on a cryptic journey to solve a deadly crime!!!
(*AKA Kerry Milliron)
Tickets are $45 AT THE DOOR | $40 IN ADVANCE
Tickets go on sale October 4th
One drink included with ticket
Optional black & white dress is welcome
MUSIC AND SONG. MURDER AND MAYHEM.
~ a fund raising event for GF&CO's 2014 Production of O.REX~
“Myth is the imitation of actions near or at the conceivable limits of desire, in a space where the human encounters the divine.”
~Jill L. Levinson
THE DEVELOPMENT OF O.REX
~ The Original Murder Mystery ~
A brand new translation of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex,
re-envisioned by Gia Forakis as a Greek-Noir Classic*
This site-specific project will take place in an NYC nightclub,
designed as a full-immersion experience!
Audiences will be seated at nightclub tables as this legendary drama unfolds around them and as the entire nightclub is transformed into the world of 1940’s Film Noir. In O.REX, Oedipus is no longer a royal king, but underworld "Kingpin" of a fashionable nightclub. Audiences are invited to come dressed in black & white, drinks are served to prevent symptoms of The Plague, and Choral Odes --re-invented as period ballads-- become the acts on the nightclub stage as live music and song, plus original cinematic underscoring enhance this gripping drama of the original murder mystery!
*Greek-Noir: a hybrid of Greek Tragedy + American Film Noir
It is believed that Sophocles first produced Oedipus Rex in Athens around 430 B.C.
Summary: In order to save the city of Thebes from plague Oedipus sets out to solve the mysterious murder of the former leader, Laius. Through his investigation Oedipus discovers that he is not only the son of Laius but also his murderer, and that his wife, Jocasta, is also his mother. Disgraced and debased, Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus blinds himself leaving Thebes in exile.
Sophocles’ play reads like a classic who-done-it with one twist: in this murder mystery the "detective" is also the murderer and the Femme Fatal is also her lover’s mother. It was from this perspective that Forakis was first motivated to merge then genres of Greek Tragedy with Film Noir.
THE TRANSLATION: O.REX
O.REX is the result of Forakis & Buchan's collaboration: a new translation of Sophocles’ play, Oedipus Rex (taken directly from the ancient Greek) that reframes the original allusions and euphemisms of the text for a contemporary clarity and accessibility, which support the 1940s setting, while maintaining that this is indeed Sophocles' script --and not an adaptation.
In O.REX, royalty is re-framed as leadership. References to Lord or King become Boss or Chief. Two essential innovations of their script are the text’s act-ability (action driven rather than literary) and the reworking of the Choral Odes, within the context of a period nightclub, into period jazz ballads: crucial interludes that maintain their primary function for setting the scene and commenting on the narrative while being transformed into catchy lyrics with a modern edge.
context for this well known classic, and mirrors Sophocles’ strategy of speaking to current concerns through mythical-cultural memory.
In O.REX, Oedipus is an underworld king-pin, rather than royal king: a crime boss who runs a nightclub. He has access to "resources" that have aided Thebes in the past (during the deadly "occupation" of the Sphinx). As the play opens, he is approached to help Thebes once again against a virulent Plague that has gripped the city.
In keeping with famous protagonists of the noir genre, Oedipus is the criminal we root for, the flawed hero. It is his own "blind" arrogance which leads to his downfall.
Curiously, Sophocles casts the audience of this well-known legend as prophets, privileged to watch as Oedipus hurtles towards the inevitable conclusion where his blindness becomes painfully literal. In this site-specific production of O.REX, the audience is in the middle of the action taking Sophocles’ intentions one step further by making them voyeurs, and because of their proximity as nightclub patrons, they become participants --complicit by default.
Forakis’ interest is in how both genres use archetype and stylized performance to tell high-stakes mystery stories that explore the nature of tragedy: people trapped, doomed to strive against fate; lessons learned at great expense; shadowy worlds laced with suspicion, corruption, crime and moral ambiguity. In this context, style reveals subtext; catharsis follows climax.
This symbiosis inspired the birth of Greek-Noir – a new genre.
Noir is built upon a shadowy world void of meaning and laced with suspicion, corruption, crime, and moral ambiguity. Those who hold public esteem and seem least reproachable, are often the most corrupt. Stories told in both genres serve as cautionary tales with a moral lesson learned at great expense. These similarities form the ultimate murder mystery and the birth of Greek-Noir. Like the Greek myths, noir is defined by archetype and symbolism; there is always a hero (albeit a flawed one) and there is always a moral to the tale. The Noir hero is one of our American myths: the “tough guy with a heart of gold” who, despite his failings will always do the right thing in the end. Just as in Greek tragedy, the climactic moment of recognition is always followed by catharsis. Greek-Noircreates a triple-vision effect, recalling the anxieties pervasive in mid-20th century America that overlap with conditions in Thebes and 5th Century Athens, while also referencing 21st century events: an endless war, a weary and divided country “plagued” with economic instability, failing infrastructure and an elected leader expected to perform miracles to save us from a deeply imbedded—if inherited—set of untenable circumstances. The Greek-Noir O.REX provides a contemporary relevance, offers a fresh
The production of O.REX will be set within a black and white world, with all set elements, lighting, costumes and skin tones in grey scale. The location is a nightclub in a 1940s American metropolis called Thebes. Oedipus is the “kingpin” modeled on Casablanca’s Rick: admired, respected, with the power to determine the success or failure, life or death, of those around him. Jocasta, his wife, is our femme fatal, a deadly mix of lover and mother whom Oedipus cannot live without.
Incorporating video/film projection will heighten the cinematic genre that this production references. The show will open with rolling titles, followed by a period-styled Newsreel with images of past and present circumstances from the deadly occupation of the Sphinx in the past, to the devastation of the Plague currently gripping Thebes as the play begins. Using a montage of war, starvation, poverty, ancient ruin... the newsreel will bring the audience up to date before the drama begins to unfold in the nightclub around them.
Setting O.REX in an actual night club will actively include the audience--inviting them to come dressed in black and white clothing of their own—as well as make use of the venue’s own waitstaff and bar.
Beginning in January 2014 we plan to write an original cinematic underscore for the scenes. Last year, we worked to develop the 5 Choral Odes set to period-style nightclub ballads (think: Kern, Berlin, Porter and Gershwin). All music and songs will be performed live on the stage of Oedipus’ nightclub.
“Myth is the imitation of actions near or at the conceivable limits of desire,
in a space where the human encounters the divine.”
~Jill L. Levinson
A Note on Development
With a project of this complexity, which seeks to merge genres and styles, while also requiring a new translation, an original cinematic-styled, period underscore, a video newsreel, and 5 Choral Odes, revised as period Jazz Ballads that weave the story and the period together seamlessly, it was very clear that O.REX was going to need an extended period of development, and that the typical one month rehearsal process and showcase contract were not going to offer us nearly enough time, for creating the scope of this epic vision.
This has meant that we have had to raise funds for both an extended development period as well as the actual production and performance.
Challenging but not impossible!
Images from GF&CO Salon Series, June 2012
O.REX DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
▪ JUNE 2012:
A Greek-Noir, work-in-progress, showing of selected scenes from Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex was presented in June of 2012, as a part of the GIA FORAKIS & COMPANY's Salon Series: an experimental, low-tech, exploration; a free social gathering, with talk back and light refreshments.
▪ SEPTEMBER 2012- MAY 2013:
Forakis & Buchan spent 10 months developing their new translation: O.REX
▪ MAY 2013:
A public staged reading for 50 colleagues and patrons.
▪ AUGUST 2013:
A 5-day residency at the Putney School in Vermont focused on developing choral compositions and Buchan's lyrics.
▪ SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2013:
Indiegogo Campaign: Music Development CLICK HERE to see the Campaign Video
▪ NOVEMBER 1st 2013:
The Black & White Murder Mystery FUNdraiser
▪ JANUARY - JUNE 2014:
The GF&CO ensemble will meet 3-4 days each month for O.REX Workshop Development. These monthly sessions include: script development with the assistance of Dramaturg Megan Carter, Company OTOA Training, exploration of a Greek-Noir Performance Style & Archetype on its feet in advance of the formal rehearsal and production.
▪ JUNE 2014:
A studio recording of the underscore is slated for June-July 2014.
▪ AUGUST 2014:
GF&CO has been invited to return to The Putney School, VT for a second Residency focusing on the development of choreography for the Nightclub Acts/ Choral Odes: August 16-23
▪ SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2014:
THE FINAL FIVE GRAND Fund Raising Push...
▪ OCTOBER 2014:
REVISED SCHEDULE TBA
▪ NOVEMBER 2014:
Check Back for Details Soon...