Diary note 48: Oedipus

29 XII 2021

In the evening we first had to take a test at a local pharmacy. Before being admitted to the Deutsches Theater, the main venue for traditional plays in Berlin.

The gleamingly restored baroque hall was only half filled and mainly by youngsters – theatre students it seemed. The repertory spans from Werther to Steppenwolf. We saw Sophocles, Oedipus.

On a half-lighted stage, nearly bare, the hardly distinguishable protagonists acted in rhythmic lockstep. Mainly concentrated on the exact rendering of the Hölderlin translation, in enhanced sound.

This was monotonous, especially in the opening parts, when the events are still mundane. Butgradually the genius of Sophocles took over, the public being fully informed of the plot, but the actors battling with enigmas.

Though as a detective story it grips the attention, Sophocles lifts this who-done-it on a metaphysical level, laying bare the dependence of human existence on luck, or even more faceless: chance.

KS who produced several Oedipuses in his life, disliked the way at the end of this performance Oedipus was presented as an old, naked and of course self-blinded man. Perhaps it meant to symbolize the baby state of being reborn.

The whole play seemed to capture the uncertainty of life under the onslaught of a pandemic.