Understanding the Greek: ‘Oedipus the King’ comes to campus

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At times the complexities of theater can lead viewers to exclaim “It’s all Greek to me!” For Jim Svendsen theater truly is ‘all Greek to him’ and that’s exactly why he loves it.

“One of the things I love about Greek tragedy is that there are so many ways to interpret it,” said Svendsen, who has been teaching Greek classes for 43 years at the University of Utah and Westminster college.

Oedipus the King playing at BYU on Sept. 23rd at 5 p.m.
Oedipus the King playing at BYU on Sept. 23 at 5 p.m.

Svendsen is the artistic director and producer for the Classical Greek Theatre Festival, which is bringing its production of “Oedipus the King” to BYU on Monday, Sept. 23.

“Oedipus the King” follows Oedipus, the King of Thebes, on his journey for truth while he attempts to discover a plague affecting his people. The journey magnifies both the good and evil within Oedipus as he struggles to do what he believes to be right.

To help the audience prepare to enter the world of Greek theater, Svendsen will hold a free pre-performance lecture. He will discuss the major themes of the play along with the important parts and components of Greek tragedies in general.

“Oedipus the King” will be performed Monday, Sept. 23, at 5 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall with a free pre-performance lecture by Dr. Svendsen at 4 p.m. Tickets are $11 for the general public, $7 with a student ID card and $10 for senior citizens or BYU alumni. Tickets can be purchased online at byuarts.com/tickets or through the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-2981.

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