Thursday, November 03, 2005

Oedipus Rex and the death of Woody Allen

Originally uploaded by himbly.
The other day in class, a girl turned to me and sighed, “I think this play has been talked to death. We were studying Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.

Written about 2500 years ago, it’s been discussed, debated, fixated on, inspected, infected, rejected, and se-lected….

(thanks to Arlo Guthrie for that last bit)

…and now…now in a first year Greek and Roman studies class that’s so freaking easy I do a jig with every new assignment…now sitting in the bowels of the science theatres at the UofC…now we’ve finally talked this play to death.

Well, I’ll be…

I just stammered for a second then pathetically protested, ‘it’s a really good play, though.’

And this is my point. A week previous to this encounter, I took on about 4 or 5 of these kids telling me that the film Oedipus the King was boring. Boring! Sure, it was done as a filmed play. Sure they didn’t change sets or costumes. Sure there was no car chases, love scenes (aside from with his mother, ew.), or Will Ferrell. But boring?

“All they did was stand there and scream at each other! Wahhh. Wahhh. Wahhh. We’re big babies that need our entertainment spoon-fed to us.”

I added the last bit.

I’m disappointed.

This…this is why no one watches Woody Allen anymore. No one cares about dialogue. No one cares about examining a character’s being and trying to understand them and, maybe, if you can, the part of them that’s in you.

I watched Hanna and Her Sisters the other day.

I could go on about W.A.’s insight into the human condition, or his ability to reach ‘the rest of us’, or his refusal to separate good or bad in anyone, or his own public wrestling with the same questions that plague all of us.

G-damn. Or even his ability, every once in awhile, to phrase a line just so and it makes me tear up.

But then I’d sound like a twat.

But I don’t think movies like Troy are going anywhere, so we’d better get used to them.

Perhaps we could get Vin Diesel to play Oedipus and Kate Beckinsale to play Jocasta. If we see him chased out of Thebes by some chariots, but he kills them all and returns to his wife (who somehow realizes she’s not his mother rather than killing herself)…..Hollywood? Here’s the pitch.

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