Yes, in 1976, as part of course A307 Drama, along with Shakespeare’s Macbeth and other famous works of English theatre, the Open University mounted a production (or at least half a production) of Sophocles’ Oidipous Tyrannos. Starring Patrick Stewart, Rosalie Crutchley, Ronald Radd, Roy Marsden and John Forbes-Robertson, it was a semi-authentic (well, not full masks, it was in English and there was an actress involved) version of the play, complete with false echoes to suggest it was filmed in an amphitheatre.
Why don’t they do great things like this any more? I don’t know.
Anyway, it was on last night at the BFI as part of the BFI’s Greek Plays On The Small Screen season in a double bill with a Play of the Month version starring Ian Holm. The event was organised in association with the AHRC-funded research project Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television, which is concerned with all plays written for the theatre produced for British television since 1930 and will publish a database of productions, a book and journal articles, as well as organise screenings, conferences and other events.
It’s worth noting they have a rather an impressive seminar organised for the afternoon Friday 22nd June (fingers crossed for a half-day off work…), by the way, so do try to go along to that and the rest of the season if you can.
As a treat, after the jump, a couple of videos: a discussion from Utah State University on the play and Don Taylor’s 1984 TV production with Michael Pennington, Claire Bloom, John Gielgud, John Shrapnel, Michael Byrne, Cyril Cusack, Dvaid Collings, Edward Hardwicke and Nigel Stock. Sorry, no Patrick Stewart in a tea cosy.
For reasons best known to the compiler of this play list, part one is the last of the videos so watch that one first then go back to the beginning.