The Gospel at Colonus
"I’ve been in a lot of shows in my life, and I've thought a lot of 'em were pretty good, but this is a masterpiece.” -Morgan Freeman
"An ancient drama explodes into a hand-clapping, soul-stirring gospel musical.” -Chicago Tribune
"One of the most marvelous shows the decade... Colonus is a triumph of reconciliation, bringing together black and white, pagan and Christian, ancient and modern in a sunburst of joy that seems to touch the secret heart of civilization itself.” -Jack Kroll, Newsweek
Writing at the end of his own long life, in Oedipus at Colonus Sophocles depicted his doomed hero’s final hours; at the moment of his death the aged Oedipus is free at last. Envisioning this rarely performed meditation on mortality as a rousing service in a black church, Lee Breuer has created a remarkable text based on Robert Fitzgerald’s splendid translation. Rearranging, simplifying, cutting here and enhancing there, Breuer has above all honored the spirit and the poetry of Sophocles's lovely work, giving it a new life in this time and place.
Inspired by the joyous faith at the heart of African-American Christianity, Breuer and composer Bob Telson have turned a momentary wish of Sophocles’ chorus into a central desire of Oedipus himself. "I wish the wind would lift me,” he sings, "so I could look with the eyes of the angels.” The fundamental action of The Gospel of Colonus is to "lift him up” - at the hour of Oedipus’ death to celebrate his life, to journey through grief to triumphal resurrection. "Man,” says lead actor Morgan Freeman, "this is what theatre is all about.”
Lee Breuer is a founding member of the acclaimed avant-garde company Mabou Mines. He has written and directed many groundbreaking works for theatre including a trilogy of "Animations,” A Prelude to Death in Venice and Haji. Sister Suzie Cinema, a cinema collection of his poems and performances, was previously published by TCG.
Bob Telson’s recent projects include collaborating with Breuer on The Warrior Ant and composing the score for the film Bagdad Caf .
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Antigone and Ismene BALLADEER AND CHORAGOS black preaching blaze of glory Bob Telson brother CAPANEUS choir of voices CHORAGOS QUINTET church Clarence Fountain COMES TO COLONUS congregation Crying hallelujah Lift Crying hallelujah—crying hallelujah Daughters of darkness DEACON CREON eternal sleep Child eternal sleep Let EVANGELIST ANTIGONE evil eyes Father Foundation Gospel at Colonus gospel band hell 0 eternal high high high holy Stop Ismene Quartet J.D. Steele Jearlyn Steele-Battle Jevetta Steele late wind Lee Breuer let the weeping Live Lord would hide mourn never Drive Numberless PARTHENOPAEUS PASTOR THESEUS Penelope Fitzgerald Pentecostal service place is holy pray PREACHER OEDIPUS pulpit Retribution comes role of Creon role of Oedipus sermon SINGER OEDIPUS Sister SOLOIST song Sophocles soul speaks stand takes the role TESTIFIER POLYNEICES Thebes TYDEUS voice foretold voices heavenly weeping cease white staircase Willie Rogers wind of death wind would lift wish the Lord wish the wind world's wonders