The Original Murder Mystery
A New Translation of Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex"
Re-Envisioned, Directed and Co-Translated by
Gia Forakis as "Greek-Noir"
--a hybrid of Greek Tragedy & Film Noir. Set in the entirely black & white world of a 1940's nightclub...
Photos by Ilya Gerasimenko
LOCATION: The Alchemical 104 W. 14th Street NYC
DATE: November 2014
THE O.REX ARTISTIC TEAM:
DIRECTOR: Gia Forakis**
CO-TRANSLATORS: Mark Buchan & Gia Forakis
LYRICIST: Mark Buchan
MUSIC BY: Balint Varga
ORIGINAL UNDERSCORES BY: Jeremy Mage
MUSIC DIRECTOR: Adam Spiegel
DRAMATURGY: Megan Carter & Greg Taubman
LIGHTING: Federico Restrepo
COSTUMES: Oana Botez
HAIR & MAKE-UP: Ljupka Arsovska
SOUND DESIGN: Elliot Davoren
SET DESIGN: Lauren Mills
PROPERTIES: Cathy Shaw
CHOREOGRAPHY: Thomas Gibbons
ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Darya Gauthier
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Alexandra Randrup
•MASTER of CEREMONIES: Adam Boncz
•JOCASTA: Danielle Delgado*
•CHORUS: Katrina Foy*
•THE PRIEST & THE WITNESS: Rob Donaldson
•CLERGY & THE STRANGER: Jose Febus*
•CREON: Kerry Milliron
•O.REX: Tony Naumovski*
BODYGUARD: Michael Patchen
•CHORUS: Stephanie Regina*
•CHORUS: Aaron M. Schroeder*
TIRESIAS: Alok Tewari*
•NURSE: Clara F. Pagone
PIANO PLAYER: Adam Spiegel
O.REX PRODUCTION TEAM:
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Adam Boncz
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Bernard Roth
•ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Jennifer Lim
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Sara Morgan
PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER: Elle Emerson
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER: Tonya Pierre *
•O.REX LOGO DESIGN: Riley Teahan
P.R. & MARKETING: Fran Kirmser
PRESS PHOTOS/VIDEO: Alex Ward
ASSOC. PRODUCTION MANAGER: Alexandra Randrup
ASSIST. PRODUCTION MANAGER: Lily Jandreska
MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Step back in time to the era of 1940's black & white film noir and into the nightclub of Theban club owner and underworld "Kingpin" Oedipus Rex (the unwitting detective to a murder he doesn't even know he's committed!).
In O.REX, Film Noir meets Greek Tragedy to create a new hybrid, "Greek-Noir," in GIA FORAKIS & COMPANY'S new translation of Sophocles' famous tragic drama.
Audience members were asked to come dressed in their best black & white attire, take a seat at a table, enjoy a drink to prevent symptoms of "The Plague,” and revel in the musical acts on the cabaret stage as the sexy and sophisticated reinvention of a legendary tragedy unfolded around them.
THEATER IN THE NOW
Review: Seeing Is Believing
O.Rex brings the audience into the action from the get go. The [nightclub] vibe allows for the noir atmosphere to settle in. Everything in this world is back and white...literally.... the feeling evoked everything director Forakis was going for. The ingenuity of the concept allowed for some great ideas to be executed well. One of the best was turning the Greek chorus into the talent of the club.... the ensemble seemed to nail the heightened noir style.... Adam Boncz as the Master of Ceremonies...was the perfect host of the evening bringing a wonderful balance of humor and drama.... Tony Naumovski as O. Rex should be commended for his brave commitment to the character he created. ... Katrina Foy was a knockout. With a stunning look and a killer voice, Foy was a true headliner. Danielle Delgado gave a divine performance as Jocasta, revealing the truths in such a beautifully subtle manner.
Director Gia Forakis, who also served as co-translator alongside with Mark Buchan, did wonders devising a high concept world and bringing it to life. It was clear Forakis knew the world she was creating. ... Buchan and composer Balint Varga wrote a wonderful musical score for the chorus to sing, keeping within the themes of the play. Jeremy Mage composed the underscoring, which was beautifully noir... The lighting by Federico Restrepo evoked the perfect feeling by limiting the amount of color to red at the end.
O.REX: The Original Murder Mystery
Quality of the rare kind [was] on display last night at The Alchemical in Gia Forakis & Company’s production of O.Rex...Ms. Forakis, who with Mark Buchan also co-translated the original Greek text into a startling clear modern idiom...intellectually stunning...brought vividly to life on the stage…in spades! ...In the role of O.Rex, Tony Naumovski gave what was arguably the best lead performance in New York City on any stage. ...Mr. Naumovski perfectly embodied the cunning ruthlessness and unstoppable singularity of purpose required to rule over his fractured city.
The production of O.REX completely blew my expectations away. From the enthusiastic piano notes of Adam Spiegel at the beginning of the performance, to the overwhelming fall of “Rex” in the end given impeccably by Tony Naumovski, there was not a moment of tedium to be found throughout the night. This was not just a performance, but a total experience.
Adam Boncz as the Master of Ceremonies served as a sublime supporting character ...his enthusiasm and charm made his character’s presence a delight ...[as] the Master of Ceremonies [he] truly was a master.
The real shining star, or rather, stars of the night were undoubtedly the three Chorus members. Each song and dance they gave brought something magical to the show. Mark Buchan’s lyrics carried the storyline seamlessly while adding a fresh new energy that completely lifted up the dark tale. Katrina Foy, Stephanie Regina, and Aaron Schroeder left the entire room smiling with their stellar song-and-dance routines, with Schroeder giving a truly out-of-this-world performance that deserves only the highest of praise.
Aesthetically, O.REX felt less like a live performance and more like a cinematic episode. The white makeup and exclusively black-and-white attire immersed me into another era without a second thought. The sparkle of Jocasta’s jewel-encrusted dress and the shine of Rex’s silver rings turned the Alchemical Theatre into a twentieth century film noir event. Cocktail glasses clinked with ice and cigarette lighters clicked throughout, all while forties-style music carried on in the background, bringing even more life into this already alive performance.
What Gia Forakis & Company have done with the work of Sophocles is something that I can only commend. Combining such different genres does not sound feasible to me on paper—Greek tragedy with forties film noir? But when the lights dim and the piano starts up, something magical happens. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that the remaining performances of this show are sold out. If there is only one negative criticism I have for O.REX, it is that there are just not enough tickets available for me to scrounge up.
(Freelance Theater Review)
Gia Forakis’ attempt to merge classical Greek myth with pulp Neo-noir style is an admirable and fascinating endeavor. O-Rex is, without a doubt, an original and creative approach to the morbidly ironic classic Greek tale. ... Forakis demonstrates a remarkable ingenuity in recognizing their common ground as dramatic formulations. ... O-Rex is a success in that it achieves what it sets out to achieve: it successfully reinterprets a Greek epic through a Neo-noir lens while managing to capture the essence of Sophocles’ original classic – the morbid irony of truth.
"Last night was truly remarkable. ...The overall vitality is thrilling and the poetry at the end of the play was served well by [Gia Forakis'] careful work. It was fun, moving, and thought provoking..."- Sally Lee Christian
"...a terrific production." - Susan Weschler
"[Tony Naumovski gave an] invigorating and powerful performance. The ensemble moved as one unified organic unit showing us its many faces. This production has succeeded in unmasking our post-irony age showing the emotional truth behind words written eons ago... [GF&CO] moved this ancient object to the heights of our contemporary moment clearly showing us how we all are lost in the quest of finding who we are." - Stefan Dzeparoski
"Moving, magical, stunning..." -Koren Alexander
"Phenomenal! I saw it Twice!" -Walker West
"[An] amazingly creative production... Hand washing at the door and entering the Club I was immediately curious about what was to take place. It was the powerful acting that just sucked me in and made me a part of the dark and shadowy world. Thank goodness for the chorus giving us much needed relief from the intensity of the story. I often judge creative endeavors by how much they cause me to think and how much I bring home with me. ...and I'm still mulling over the complex issues and the down right creativeness of this production. Congratulations All! A job well done." - Karen Cuppernull
"...a stellar evening." - J. Walker
" A magnificent job...!" - Elizabeth Margid
"Warm and enthusiastic congratulations to ... everyone in the fabulous cast and crew of GF&CO's O.REX... This is a very special show, and I'm so impressed and proud...a truly original concept brought to life so fully and successfully, and I have no doubt its heights were reached because the entire company was performing using OTOA. How could this kind of production have happened without it? A standing ovation to all!" - Lila Smith
"Was totally in awe of O-Rex…the show is strong and captivating. The cast, lighting, stage, costumes, music,…the total package….right on!" - Peggy King Jorde
"Brilliant!"- Crystal Fields
"My friends and I loved the show!...we all felt the earth move. Many were so inspired that they actually left the theater and looked up the story, just to connect the dots." - Stephanie Shayne
"Oh 'Rex' you stole my heart! It was so heightened and crazy, we loved it. Cool that it twas directed by a Greek woman-right? ...the New York accents were great and that crazy Greek chorus! My daughter recognized the acting style to be very near to how the original "Greeks" may have played it with the heightened wailing and emotional life! [Tony Naumovski is] a fearsome stage presence." - Paul Young
"Fabulous Greek Chorus!! Loved the show...!" - Evelina Regina Del Duca
"I loved it! ...You get to the end and you realize what good fortune it is that we cannot see our own futures." - Susan Bruce
"...You should ALL be proud of this production! ...please pass my congrats to the director, she did a really great job!" - Alrick Brown
"I adored O.REX...it was thrilling. ...I was amazed at how well Greek Tragedy and noir complement each other. Every word spoken by those actors was so full, so filled with intention...[this] production truly respected the beauty of the words. And what a fine set of actors: Oedipus/Rex was fantastic--chilling and arrogant, yet he smartly made the audience want to cheer for him. He has the look for noir, and is a wonderful actor to boot! Jocasta had such presence and you could see every moment of her revelation about the truth of Rex's identity, and Tiresias was a joy to watch--a very different portrayal and I loved it....Kudos for truly creating an atmosphere of the nightclub--from the moment I washed the plague off my hands, I felt I was in a different world....and that's what good theatre does, it transforms you into the story with the characters. ... I loved how in this production not one but TWO characters from the nightclub whom we've gotten to know over the course of the evening come to offer the disturbing news--extremely effective! ...I know this was an extended labor of love for all involved, and it shows!" - Michael Abourizk
"Truly outstanding retake on the Oedipus Rex story. The talent alone on that stage was worth gold... Ninon Rogers thank you for introducing me to this company. Looking forward to more of it." - Antonio Hofbauer
"See this show!" - Kevin Jones
"Tony Naumovski gives a masterful performance! ...the noir framework made the play fresh, clear, relevant and fully illuminated. I understood elements of the story I had never thought of before" - E. Andrews
"We will tell our friends they must see this!" - Edward Pomerantz
"Inviting the audience to dress in black and white was a brilliant idea, and made me feel included the moment I walked in.." - Dorottya Mathe
"I was surprised at how moved I was by the ending even though I know the story and knew what was coming. Tony [Naumovski] as Oedipus was brilliant! The shock on his face when he put all the pieces together was deeply affecting ...the production made me think of what a gift it is to be blind to the tragedies of life that are awaiting us. This show is genius, the cast is stellar. I was in tears at the end." - Jennifer Just
"It was soooooo delicious to be at the opening of O.Rex and to see [GF&CO] do such a wonderful job! As always, under [Gia's] direction...everything [fit] tight together with such strong presence and intention. We felt very enveloped, happy, proud and, to be honest, there were times I wished that I could jump up from my seat and join the chorus!" - Juju Stulbach
"I felt like a Greek citizen... seeing a story that, of course, I was very familiar with, but still was surprised, thrilled & moved as I laughed and cried at every turn of events. Each actors is now reaching a superb level...Congratulations to all, and my best wishes for continued success!" -Tom Ligon