Everyone wishes they could see the future, but only because they never consider that something bad might be waiting for them. Oedipus, born under a bad sign, is consigned to death by his parents because of a prophecy that their son would kill Dad and sleep with Mom. The kindness of a stranger allows Oedipus to live and grow to manhood, and eventually learn of the prophecy that he's gonna love his mom too much and his dad not enough. Now a king married to the "mature" widow, Jocasta, the knowledge of what he will do torments Oedipus into making bad decisions, like summoning another seer to tell him something different. Blind Tiresias tells him the same bad news: It's fate, man, you can't escape it. Just because you don't like the news you're hearing doesn't make it false; like many leaders, Oedipus believes he can change the future if it doesn't suit his needs and, more damningly, that he's incapable of making a bad decision — especially one inspired by self-interests. Upstream Theater opens its new season with David Slavitt's English translation of Sophocles' Oedipus King, with the always-excellent J. Samuel Davis in the role of Oedipus. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (October 8 through 23), with a 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, October 24) at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; 314-863-4999 or www.upstreamtheater.org). Tickets are $15 to $25.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 8. Continues through Oct. 24, 2010