Helen Mirren and Mark Strong to star in Sonia Friedman production of Oedipus
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
The cat is out of the bag as Sonia Friedman Productions recently took to Twitter to tease a new Robert Icke-directed production based on Sophocles' Oedipus. The upcoming play has yet to find a London home but is widely rumoured to be heading to the West End, perhaps sometime next year. The new show will star multi-award-winning actress Helen Mirren alongside film star Mark Strong. Performance dates, venue, and ticketing information have yet to be announced.
Mark Strong and Helen Mirren to star in Robert Icke's Oedipus!
Helen Mirren and Mark Strong will officially star opposite each other in a new Robert Icke adaptation of the Ancient Greek classic tragedy Oedipus, written in the fifth century BCE by the acclaimed classic playwright Sophocles.
Details of the new play are 'hush-hush' but additional news of the play is bound to be released soon as Icke's current production of The Doctor prepares to transfer to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre next year.
What is the Oedipus tragedy about?
In a nutshell, the plot of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex follows Oedipus, who has recently been crowned King of the City of Thebes. Unbeknownst to the new Theban monarch, a prophecy has been fulfilled after he unwittingly murdered his father Laius for the throne and later married his mother Jocasta after answering a riddle from the Sphinx. The tragedy centres around Oedipus's search for his father's killer, unaware that the killer is actually him. When he learns of this fact and of his incestuous relationship with his mother, he ends up gouging his eyes out in devastation whilst Jocasta hangs herself to death.
The patricidal play is widely considered to be the greatest tragedy from Ancient Greece and was first performed on stage in 429 BCE. The Sophocles play inspired psychoanalyst and neurologist Sigmund Freud, who coined the term Oedipus Complex to describe a child's unconscious sexual desire for their opposite-sex parent and their hatred for their same-sex parent. The complex has inspired the likes of many visual artists over the years, particularly from the surrealist movement, the likes of which include German painter Max Ernst, Spanish painter Salvador Dali, and more.
The Oedipus cast for the new Robert Icke production
Details are scarce on what roles Mirren and Strong will play in the upcoming production of Oedipus. Mirren last appeared in the West End's The Audience whilst Strong collaborated with Robert Icke on the National Theatre production of The Red Barn.
Helen Mirren is perhaps best-known for her award-winning roles in The Queen, Prime Suspect, The Passion of Ayn Rand, Elizabeth I, The Scent of Darkness, and Losing Chase whilst Mark Strong is perhaps best known for his blockbuster film roles in Kick-Ass, Zero Dark Thirty, the Kingsman film series, The Imitation Game, Sherlock Holmes, and Stardust.
About Robert Icke
A frequent collaborator with Sonia Friedman Productions, writer and director Robert Icke is best-known for his modern adaptations of such literary classics as Uncle Vanya, Mary Stuart, Oresteia, and 1984. In 2016, he became the youngest winner of the Olivier Award for Best Director for his production of Oresteia, which also took home the Critics Circle Theatre Award and Evening Standard Theatre Award. His production of 1984 two years prior notably took home the 2014 UK Theatre Award for Best Director as well.
Robert Icke's current production of The Doctor starring Juliet Stevenson is set to transfer to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre in Spring 2020 after a highly successful run at the Almeida Theatre earlier this year with Sonia Friedman as co-producer. His new adaptation of Oedipus wouldn't mark the first time he's worked with the piece. He previously adapted the tragedy into the Dutch language in a production that ran at the Edinburgh International Festival last summer.
Oedipus London theatre tickets coming soon!
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