The UWG Theater Program’s production of The Gospel at Colonus brings fun to a tragedy in the musical retelling of Oedipus at Colonus.
The show opened on Wednesday Oct. 9 and ran through Sunday Oct. 13 with a run time of around 75 minutes with no intermission, however it did not feel too long or too short keeping the audience wrapped in the action from beginning to end.
The show’s interpretation is set under a bridge in a homeless community where a church group is re-telling the stories of Oedipus as if it were a Bible story. The actors interact with the audience, making everyone feel as if they are a part of the story ready to be preached to, and breaking the fourth wall from the very beginning.
The shows themes of responsibility, reconciliation and redemption are shown in this production through the actors telling a story within a story to the audience. The costumes, set, lighting and music all do a beautiful job helping that story along making this production, visually, one of the most beautiful and realistic on the Townsend stage that this author has seen.
The tragic life of Sophocles’ Oedipus is not something that can be brought to life in a way that can be enjoyed by all audiences, however this production seems to have done just that.
The music makes the audience feel as if they are sitting front row of a lively church and keeps the audience locked in, even in moments of great tragedy. Actor Dakota Kuykendall’s performance of what can be considered the singing narrator within the story, was amazing. The soothing tones of his voice keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and wanting more and more.
Also the almost angelic sound of Akeria Gant even had one audience member yelling “sing it baby!” and had the crowd going wild with her high notes.
It is hard to say who were the standouts of the production were acting wise, as every single character and ensemble member did a phenomenal job and the amount of hard work put into this show paid off tremendously, however two students that stood out were the two Oedipus’s or Oedipi as I kept thinking of them. Shamia Taylor and Sanni Parham played two very different versions of the same character, yet made them feel like they were one.
Taylor’s powerful voice and almost demanding personality came forward as preacher Oedipus. This character is the one telling the story, teaching this to her congregation, keeping the show together and was just so much fun to watch.
Parham’s portrayal as singer Oedipus was beautifully dynamic, he hardly speaks, instead showing his emotions through song and being both hilarious and tragic all at once.
Overall the show was amazing. The directors, designers and actors all did a fantastic job putting this show on making it one to remember at UWG.