In July 2014 I held auditions for Oedipus Rex-World premiere in Amsterdam at the Greek Community centre. 60 people showed up.
In September 2014 we started rehearsals with a cast of 29 International Artists. The cast consisted of professional actors, beginners and amateurs. The role of Oedipus was trusted in a young, upcoming and talented Dutch actor, Laurens De Groot. Most of the principle roles were given to professional or trained actors. The chorus consisted of beginner artists and amateurs.
We could only meet on Saturdays. So we spent the next 24 Saturdays together.
In February 2015 we opened at the theatre of the University of Amsterdam, under the patronage of the Greek Embassy in the Netherlands, with the support of the Department of Modern Greek Studies at the University of Amsterdam and the support of the National Greek Organisation of Tourism.
We were sold out for all performances.
These are a couple of our reviews on social media:
“A wave of energetic drama swept over me last night at the premiere. Hats off everyone. I have complete admiration for Theodora in having the nerve, guts and stamina to direct and produce such a daunting project. It’s a huge challenge to put on this ancient masterpiece with its chilling and thought-provoking emotions. All the actors did their utmost to project this. Amazing choreography of the chorus’s movements, stark strong decor, sober dramatic costumes, perfect lighting and a tremendous very effective musical score. Never a dull moment. Enjoyed experiencing this. Congratulations all of you.” Michael Lasoff
“Every once in a while you see a production that takes your breath away. Or makes you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut. Which is good. And this is one.
Theater should move you, and this production did that for me.
As the audience enters, the citizens of Thebes move around on stage supplicating to the gods and their king, powerfully underscored musically, setting the mood of desperation. A powerful choice, right from the start. And it just goes on from there.
There were powerful and moving individual performances and monologues carrying the story of Oedipus, who slowly learns of his fate, as in a detective story avant la lettre.
Great praise to Laurens de Groot for Oedipus, Teri Vakaki for Jocasta, and Andy Cowie for Creon. Special praise for Henrietta Bryant for her performance of the maid to report the death of Jocasta and the blinding of Oedipus.
But in fact everyone on stage did a great job. The ensemble work was seamless, each actor continually contributing to the mood, and keeping focus throughout.
Great costume work by Tamira Lankamp, and loved the set! Congratulations Theodora Voutsa for your vision and direction, and to cast and crew for an awesome production!
One more show to go. So if you have not seen it, buy, beg, steal, or borrow for a ticket.” Henny Vos
It was a wonderful experience for the audience as well as for the artists.
Theatre is therapeutical. Theatre can bring communities together. Theatre can teach a human being that they are perfect and 100% responsible of their reality. Theatre can show a person how they can achieve any goal they set their mind to. Theatre liberates you!
This is the evidence:
“Acting in Theodora Voutsa’s Oedipus Rex has made me a better person. First, rehearsing with Theodora and learning the Los Angeles Method has changed my relationship with myself. I now have a framework and vocabulary for how I experience emotion. Not only do I better understand what I am feeling, I also seek out new emotional experiences rather than avoiding them.
Perhaps more importantly though, the experience has changed how I interact with the world. I better understand not only my own objectives, but those of others around me, which makes me a better colleague, friend, and partner.
Performing for a sold-out theatre also has some unique benefits. The most obvious of those is the boost in self-confidence that comes from having successfully rehearsed and performed an entire play alongside a talented cast. More subtle though, is that theatre puts the rest of life in perspective. The commitment, focus, and high stakes of putting on our show made it clear that things I had previously felt were huge problems are really only minor annoyances.
I wholeheartedly recommend this to others and can hardly wait to do it again myself.”
Brian Pagan. USA.
“At first, a lot of strangers and chaos. We were a group of individuals who shared an atomic experience and, in the process, formed a cohesive unit. For many of us, it was a baptism by fire. But, like clay cups, we needed the fire to turn us into fine, strong porcelain. I was often left breathless with love – both given and received. We witnessed and supported each other’s breakthroughs and many tears were shed as we connected with parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed.
I learned that, whether you’re in a corporate career or an artistic one, a strong work ethic and an ability to communicate and co-operate with others is essential.
I learned the fine balance between trust and taking responsibility.
I learned that there is a time to speak and a time to stay silent, and that too many words swallow the meaning.
Theodora: Passionate, impatient, temperamental, with a heart as huge as her talent. Strong vision and drive, and a firm handle on both the bigger picture and every minute detail. No tolerance for bullshit, excuses or drama queens; a knack for understanding someone’s pain and knowing when to use it to break down barriers and when to comfort it to prevent creating them. A very tough task-master who only accepts the best from each of us. I discovered that if I let go of my defensiveness, just gave my very best and allowed myself to be taught, magic happened.
We created something exquisite – all of us together. I still feel tears of pride pricking my eyes when I look at the photos.”
Sandy Topzand. South Africa
“I have always loved theatre and enjoyed watching the performances. I never acted before, never been on stage.
When I learned about Oedipus Rex, I thought “why not” and joined the first meeting in June 2014. I really wanted to join the cast but got scared to make a fool of myself as a non-actor. (I am an IT professional :)). I asked Theodora if she will be open with her feedback and if I have no talent not to let me go on stage. She laughed and said there will be something to do for everyone and she will never allow anyone of us to fail as “Oedipus Rex” must succeed.
The only condition was to give our commitment, our time and energy during the process. I decided to join. As I was very excited from the first moment onwards; I did bring a very close friend to join the cast and do this together.
I did have a unique and wonderful experience from day 1 onwards. Acting means putting yourself forward, getting away from your fears and embracing yourself. I opened up, met myself in a very different way; I started to dare, let my emotions show, and not be inhibited by my fears. ” I am worthy” has been our motto; I now understand what it means.
In the process we connected with all our fellow actors; anticipating their mood, movements, understanding their needs and emotions; getting to know them both as friends and also actors.
We did many exercises during each rehearsal; started with warm ups, did team building exercises, acting, singing, …
I discovered my capabilities I would never be aware of. This has been very fulfilling for me; also created a new energy and drive for my day to day life. Suddenly the routine of my life changed. I was looking forward to Saturday’s and the rehearsals.
Being part of the Oedipus Rex cast gave me additional strength to deal with the difficult situations at work and in my personal life. I am a stronger person now; more open for change and with more self-confidence. If I can be successful on stage, in front of many people and get their applause, I can do anything I put my mind and energy into.
The performances were also unique experiences for me. Technical week, preparations, getting into character, being present and connecting with the audience in such a way to let them live through the story and emotions with us. I really enjoyed every moment of it.
This experience and what I learned during the process is also very useful for me during my work. It is all about people, connecting and communicating. Also embracing change. These are qualities that can be applicable to my job, actually any job, as we all work with people. The best achievements are done via a good and efficient teamwork.
I am already recommending this experience to friends as I believe anybody who will put their commitment and energy into this process will go though a life changing experience and will benefit from it.
I started to feel young, energetic, happy and capable again … What more could I want ?”
“My experience with the Oedipus “project” was in short amazing; a once in a life time experience. From the first day I participated , I was hooked. The presence of Theodora was so powerful, so embracing and encouraging that I decided to be part of this project from the first day; I didn’t know what I could do, or if i was up to the challenge but I decided to give a try. I found the whole process so challenging and very awarding at the personal level; it forced me and all others to get rid of all kind of emotional , physical barriers we all had in the beginning ; our “vulnerability “ led to a very special bond among all of us based on trust, care , and love and mutual drive.
The next 6 months was working together, rehearsing, learning techniques, learning each other and learning more about yourself all in a very demanding, highly challenging , quite entertaining and competitive environment but never competing with others; always with yourself only to exceed what you have done so far. I felt growing stronger in presence but becoming selfless at the same time. It was amazing to observe and also experience how Theodora stimulates the group and individuals to go through different stages of emotions, that at the end brings everybody closer to each other and to own self.
The performances were a complete different experience: first of all only at that time I saw how those seemingly disparate and unrelated small things started to make sense and fell into their own place ; it made be comfortable and confident to realize how well all was actually thought, designed from early on: we were stirred to grow and fulfill the space designated.
I already started to encourage many people I know, especially the young ones to go through a similar experience which will help them in their own personal development as well as in their current or future carrier aspirations. I was very privileged to go thru this journey under the guidance of Theodora.”
Muge Ergecen- Netherlands
“8 months ago when I showed up for open days for World Premiere of Oedipus Rex I wouldn’t imagine I would have a lifetime experience. Personally, through the process I discovered my artistic self and learned how to express my feelings better, and communicate and connect with others and the environment. As it was my stage debut I didn’t know how a theatre production is produced; rehearsals, direction, music, costumes and backstage. During the rehearsals I discovered the technical aspects of theater as well as how much dedication and discipline it requires to put a play on stage. Methods of preparing yourself for acting, getting into character and so. I was quite nervous the first time on stage but once that was gone it was terrific to be on stage. And of course when hear the applause and compliments from audience, that’s an awesome feeling. I can say that the overall experience helped me to grow beyond my limits and I believe I will be better in my personal and professional relationships and express myself easier. I definitely recommend people to be involved in Antigone and I want to continue acting myself.”
Serkan Kaba. Turkey
“The earliest mention of acting was at nine, when my mother and sister asked me to be an actor, to which I responded …‘never… actors lie’ and so it went until last year when I took a self-development class with the Los Angeles Method where I discovered, that in order to be a successful actor/ress you need to be pure of intention, and I like to lead my life pursuing purity of intention to myself and those around me.
I landed in a cast like wind swept parachute; culminated in two roles, albeit small, priest and chorus in the professional play of Oedipus Rex, by Theodora Voutsa, which was performed at the UVA Theatre Feb/March 2015.
We spent six months preparing, each rehearsal was extraordinary, often culminating in severe emotions from love to anger and back to love plus everything in between. Oedipus Rex haunt?, I wonder 🙂 … but what a performance, standing ovation on all three days!! and even more incredible was the cast and everyone that made this possible from photoshoots, to sound, lighting, each individual.. sacrifice, love, bonding.. just very good…good… people; and at the top with the vision to make it happen… Theodora.
Once we completed our 3 performances; something happened, snapped? inside me. A new dimension that has always been with me but never knew existed. A sense of power matrixed into my existing inner knowledge, like new space. For those who are contemplating, be brave and take the leap, no matter what happens, your life will never be the same again.”
Nico Samaras. Greece