A visual feast

MARSHALL – The first show in the Black Box Theatre at Southwest Minnesota State University is aimed to appeal to the audience.

The Southwest Minnesota State University drama club is presenting “Oedipus Rex” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 17, at the SMSU Black Box Theatre. The show is being directed by SMSU student Andrew Kompelien.

The Greek tragedy by Sophocles appealed to him, Kompelien said.

“It’s a pretty twisted story, and that’s what I find interesting,” he said.

Kompelien had studied the play in his theater history class.

“I had always known about the Oedipus complex,” he said, adding that he didn’t really dig into the story until the class.

Then Kompelien dealt with the story in a costume history class and got interested in the Greek theater history of using masks.

“I thought it would be an interesting challenge to incorporate modern storytelling tricks into this ancient Greek text,” he said.

Kompelien said his version of “Oedipus” is a hybrid.

“It’s set in ancient Greece, but it has modern touches to make it interesting to a modern audience,” he said.

Kompelien is using a theater in the round, where the audience surrounds the stage area. He said it hasn’t been used in the Black Box Theatre for quite a while.

“The university is a perfect opportunity to try stuff like that,” he said.

Kompelien said his actors have been taking on the challenge of the Greek tragedy.

“There was a lot of initial struggles and apprehension with the language,” he said.

“They’ve been very receptive, and everyone is eager to learn as well,” Kompelien added.

Kompelien said he’s incorporating a projector into his production, using it as a static intelligent instrument.

“We can throw patterns and moving images onto the stage to create more movement,” Kompelien said.

“We are going to really surprise some people with the spectacle that I’ve worked into the show,” Kompelien added. “I want people that may struggle understanding the language to still have a visual feast.”