Program in Classical Studies
Sophocles' Oedipus Rex at ECU

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The 2013 Classics Play


 Murder Your Father
Marry Your Mother
Find Yourself

Oedipus Rex

a Tragedy by Sophocles

in a translation by Ruth Fainlight and Robert J. Littman

with original music by Mark Richardson

directed by John Given

April 5, 6 and 7, 2013

at Mendenhall Student Center

on the campus of East Carolina University

co-sponsored by the Program in Classical Studies

and The Center for Student Leadership & Civic Engagement


Wednesday, January 23, 2013 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. 

The Great Rooms in Mendenhall Student Center (second floor)

See below for complete information.

Anyone unable to appear at the scheduled auditions should contact the director immediately and make alternate arrangements.

To be involved . . .

We will need many, many people to make Oedipus Rex successful. If you are interested in appearing on stage, please see the Audition Information below. Besides actors, we will also need: musicians, costume designers and makers, a stage manager, stage hands, a props master, an advertising manager, an advertising designer, a house manager, ushers and still more. If you are interested in volunteering for any of these positions or just looking to help out in any way, big or small, please contact the director by e-mail ( or phone (252-328-6538).

Oedipus and the Sphinx
Audition Information

Auditions for Oedipus Rex are open to all members of the ECU Community.  No acting experience is necessary. Students interested in earning academic credit for participation in Oedipus Rex may sign up for CLAS 3500: Ancient Drama in Performance. Enrollment in the class is not a prerequisite for participation.

Auditions will take place on January 23, 2013 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. in the Great Rooms on the second floor of the Mendenhall Student Center.  Walk-ins will be welcome at the auditions, but the director would prefer that you inform him that you intend to try out.  (Email: Auditioners will be asked to read from Oedipus Rex. Auditioners may also come prepared with a monologue of two to three minutes in length, but this is not required. Those auditioning for singing roles (Chorus or Oedipus) will be taught music from the show. Singers may also come prepared with a solo of 16-32 bars in length. A pianist will be present for accompaniment.  

Auditioners should plan to remain on hand for the entire 90-minute audition period, if possible, as we may read in pairs or groups.  If an actor is unable to attend the auditions at all, please contact the director immediately to arrange a separate reading.

Rehearsals.  Rehearsals will begin the week of January 27.  All rehearsals will take place in the evening (usually 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.), typically on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Not all actors will need to be present for every rehearsal; schedules will be posted at least one week in advance. The director will take into account students' schedules as much as possible.  Successful auditioners, however, are expected to commit fully to the rehearsal schedule as well as the performance dates.  The performance dates are non-negotiable, as we do not expect to cast understudies. There may be an additional performance at a Chapel Hill theatre festival in late March, depending on participants' availability.

Auditioners should review the list of characters below and be prepared to indicate what role(s) they are auditioning for.  For all of the roles except Oedipus and Jocasta, the director expects to use gender-blind casting, and so you may audition for roles of the opposite gender.

Oedipus. Lead role, onstage almost constantly. Requires very strong stage presence. Oedipus is supremely confident in himself and commands instant respect, but is not obviously arrogant. His downfall is extreme; he ends the play a severely broken man. The actor will need to portray a very broad range of character. Strong, commanding voice, and ability to elicit audience's sympathy and tears. Oedipus sings one song, a lament. Tenor or baritone.  

Jocasta.  Second lead, onstage about half the play. Oedipus's wife (and mother), about 16-20 years older than him but deeply in love with him. A passionate woman who is willing to stand by Oedipus's side and protect him, come what may. 

Creon. Jocasta's brother. Three scenes. A man of royal blood who is not completely satisfied with playing second fiddle to Oedipus, but is clever enough to hide his dissatisfaction.

Priest.  One scene. A pious man who seeks answers from the gods and the king. A sincere suppliant, leading a band of children to seek Oedipus's help.

Tiresias.  One long scene. Tiresias is the blind seer of Thebes. He knows the truth of Oedipus's lineage but hesitates to reveal it. When pushed, he lashes out in anger.

Corinthian Messenger.  Two scenes. An old shepherd who brings news that Oedipus's (step-)father has died. 

Shepherd.  One scene. Another old shepherd, he holds the key to Oedipus's identity. Very timid, only speaks when he has to. Crumbles under Oedipus's violent threats.

Theban Messenger.  One long speech. The messenger reports Jocasta's suicide and Oedipus's blinding, a speech that can steal the show. A very strong stage presence and a very good story teller. Must be able to hold the audience's attention on his own for five full minutes.

Chorus.  At least eight singers, evenly divided among soprano, alto, tenor, bass. These are the citizens of Thebes, suffering from plague and intensely interested in Oedipus's journey of discovery. Singing and acting skills required, but singing is more important. Some chorus members will have individual spoken lines.

Children.  At least six children, of various ages from 5-16. The children are silent roles. At least one will be used as a dead body. Another will be the guide for blind Tiresias. Two girls will be Oedipus's daughters in the final scene. All the children we be onstage in the opening scene with the Priest. 

Silent characters. Various attendants to the royal family, people of Thebes, etc.