Bring a chair, and even dinner, for 'Oedipus' this week


In dappled sunlight in the Griffis Hall Courtyard at Mississippi State, Shackhouls Honors College students rehearse Wednesday for

In dappled sunlight in the Griffis Hall Courtyard at Mississippi State, Shackhouls Honors College students rehearse Wednesday for "Oedipus." From left are Sinclair Keyes of Orlando, Florida, Ryan Jarratt of Vicksburg and Norman Hunter IV of Marion. Photo by: Courtesy photo


Jan Swoope



A mythical Greek king will fulfill a tragic prophecy when the Shackouls Honors College presents "Oedipus," by Sophocles, at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the Griffis Hall Courtyard at Mississippi State. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets, and picnic dinners, if desired, for the free outdoor play which is part of Classical Week 2018 


"This is the seventh year Shackouls Honors College has sponsored Classical Week, which seeks to enhance the Classics between and among departments, colleges and communities through lectures, film, art displays and theater performances," said Professor and Senior Faculty Fellow Donna Clevinger, who directs the play. 


The open air performances are produced not only as entertainment but also as a catalyst for a new lecture program, The Orators. The first lecture is Thursday, Sept. 27, at 2 p.m. in Griffis Hall. Yale University's Norma Thompson, senior lecturer in the humanities and director of undergraduate studies, humanities major, will speak on "A Look from the Past." The lecture program's overall theme is "Who Am I Anyway?" 


Twenty-two students comprise the "Oedipus" cast and staff. Auditions were held the first week of classes. 


"With this come 22 class schedules to work around, including a high school student's football games," Clevinger said. "Somehow it is all working out, and the public will be treated to an enjoyable evening of entertainment." 


Joseph Rutherford, an MSU freshman from New Albany, portrays the title character.  


"It's very challenging to do it at the start of the semester; it's definitely practicing time management skills," said Rutherford, who is taking a 20-hour class load.  


Rutherford recognizes some similarities between himself and the fictional king.  


"We both are devoted to the people that we're trying to serve, the people we love, and we'll do anything to make sure things are done right," he said. But when Oedipus discovers painful secrets, his anger becomes consuming. 


"The hardest thing to master with him is his emotions," Rutherford said. "Oedipus takes out his pain and anger on himself and he unleashes it on everybody." 


Clevinger praised the commitment of the cast and crew who took on the challenge of a play so early in the semester.  


"Their positive attitude, the sacrifices they have made to participate in the show and the sincere caring for each other have made these young men and women some of the best I have worked with at the honors college," she said. "I did not know any of them prior to auditions, and now I have gotten to know them as outstanding individuals." 


For more information about the play, call 662-325-2522. The Griffis Hall Courtyard is located in Zacharias Village on the MSU campus. In case of rain, the production will move indoors.


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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