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KNOXVILLE – Sophocles’ tragedy “Oedipus the King” will run February 4-21, 2010 in the Clarence Brown Theatre’s Carousel Theatre.  This production contains adult content.

Oedipus the King“This play is an example–an ancient example–of a culture’s effort to make sense of the incomprehensibility of man’s existence.  It raises searching questions about man’s place in the world–is man free or are his actions predetermined by some supernatural force?  This question is at the heart of Sophocles’ play and one that has perplexed philosophers and theologians for centuries,” said director John Sipes. “Oedipus left his home to escape his “destiny” only to learn later that he had precisely fulfilled the god’s horrific prediction.  Ironically, it is Oedipus’ choice to uncover the truth that destroys him; it is in exercising his free will that he discovers the horrible truth of his existence.”

Sipes is a second-year faculty member in the UT Theatre Department.  Prior to this, he was the Resident Movement Director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. In thirteen seasons at the Festival, he worked on over 100 productions. Before joining the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, he directed shows and choreographed fights for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival for twelve seasons; he served as the Festival’s Artistic Director from 1990 to 1995. Recent directing credits include “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and “All My Sons” at the Clarence Brown, “Henry VIII” and “King John” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “The Year of Magical Thinking” and “The Hollow” at the Milwaukee Rep, and “Julius Caesar” at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. He received an MFA in Acting from Indiana University. He is a certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique (AmSat), and a certified actor/combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. John also trained in Corporeal Mime with Etienne Decroux in Paris, and studied with Tadashi Suzuki in Japan.

The cast includes many talented resident artists, MFA students, and community actors, all of whom have been seen regularly on the CBT stages.  They are:  David Alley, Carol Mayo Jenkins, David Kortemeier, Donald Thorne, Cycerli Ash, Jessica Ripton and Matt Ventura.

The cast also includes three visiting guest artists.  Jeremy Holm, a New York actor, returns to play the role of “Oedipus.”  He previously appeared in the CBT productions of “Anna Karenna” and “The Trojan Women.” Elizabeth Norment, also a New York actor, will play the role of “Jocasta.”  She has appeared on regional theatre stages, Broadway and in film and television, and she most recently performed in the one-woman show “The Year of Magical Thinking” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.  Ned Schmidtke, formerly based in Chicago, now resides in Los Angeles where he maintains a busy career in television, film and theatre.

Visiting guest artist, Jennifer Tipton, designed the lights.

“Ms. Tipton is a two-time Tony Award and two-time Drama Desk Award winning Lighting Designer, and a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Genius Award.  She has designed lights for theatre and dance on Broadway and in regional theatres across the country.   In addition to her prolific professional career, Ms. Tipton has taught Lighting Design at the Yale School of Drama since 1981 where she has inspired countless young designers many of whom are now significant professional designers themselves.  We all feel privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate with an artist of Ms. Tipton’s caliber,” Sipes said.

MFA set design student, Mary Pingree, designed the set.

“The set contains some architectural elements that harken back to the ancient theatres of Greece, and some others that could be found in our city centers today.  So, the set will appear simultaneously foreign and familiar, old and new, much in the same haunting way the story of “Oedipus Rex” feels–at once mysteriously distant and unreal, while at the same time, disturbingly recognizable and very real,” Sipes said.

Marianne Custer, head of Design at UT, designed the costumes.

“Marianne’s costume designs suggest a modern world while simultaneously evoking aspects of the ancient past.  Her designs, as always, contributed immeasurably to the shaping of our approach to the play” Sipes said.

UT Theater faculty member, Terry Silver-Alford, and resident sound designer, Mike Ponder, collaborated as Composer and Sound Designer.

“Our production will include some of Terry’s original music played on a “prepared piano.”  Terry’s music captures exquisitely the mystery and haunting beauty of the play,” Sipes said.

Preview for the show is February 4.  Opening night is February 5. The show runs to February 21. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Matinees begin at 2 p.m.  For tickets, call the Clarence Brown Theatre box office at 865-974-5161, Tickets Unlimited at 865-656-4444 or online at


Who: Clarence Brown Theatre in the Carousel Theatre

What: “Oedipus the King”

When: Feb. 4-21. 2010, 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Tickets: Preview: Adult $20, UT Fac/Staff—BOGO $17, Seniors $17, Students $12, UT Students Free with ID

Opening: Adults $33, Students $20, UT Students $10 with ID

Wed/Thursday: Adults $22, UT Fac/Staff—BOGO $19 Seniors $19, Students $12, UT Students $5 with ID

Weekends: Adults $27, UT Fac/Staff-BOGO $22, Seniors $22, Students $15, UT Students $5 with ID

Box Office: 974-5161 or