The story is notorious and does not take long to tell. Laius, Oedipus’s father, is told by the oracle that his first-born son will kill him and marry his mother. He promptly sends Oedipus away to die as soon as he is born, but the child is saved, grows up with foster parents, and when he hears they are not his real parents, he sets off to question the oracle. However, he does not understand its prophecy, and on the way home kills a stranger – his father Laius – and enters Thebes, where he solves the riddle of the Sphinx, assumes power and marries Jocasta, his mother.

All this has already happened when the tragedy begins that revolves around discovering this incest, bringing it to light and ends with Jocasta taking her own life and Oedipus stabbing out his eyes and leaving Thebes.

But what is this play really about, that almost everyone knows and where a lot of people associate Oedipus with the desire to sleep with one’s mother and kill one’s father.

What does the great silence of these characters mean when it seems that everyone knows or might know what has happened? Who or what is being protected by these tough and dogged proceedings … is it faith in the gods? Is it the guilty secret behind a successful regime that needs to prove itself one more time and cannot? Is it a view of the world that needs to change radically for creation to continue to exist?

Johan Simons devises a different reading of this famous text in which Jocasta refuses to sacrifice herself for Oedipus and does not die.


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  • Premiere: 17.10.2021