Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus: A Play Reading and Discussion with Paul Woodruff
With special guest speaker Paul Woodruff, Ph.D.
This event will take place at the Institute or at a nearby location. If you order tickets and the event is moved to another location, updated information will be sent to the email address you used to purchase the ticket. Updates will also be posted on our website.
Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus puts a captivating story on stage through dialogue, dance, and song. One man, larger than life, lives his last day on the margin between human and sacred space, confronting moral, political, and religious issues that still matter to us.
The gathering will hear a reading of the entire text of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus with any or all of those attending reading parts of the play. Dr. Paul Woodruff prefers play reading and discussion as a favorite approach to engage with the Greek plays.
Oedipus is at the same time cursed and blessed, weak and powerful, blind and seeing, kind and cruel. Written in Sophocles’ extreme old age (he was over eighty) the play contains some of his best poetry, along with illuminations of timeless truths about human life. In reading the play, we can experience the profound emotions Sophocles evokes as human beings wrestle with power, both human and divine. In his struggle with overarching powers, and his discovery of his own extraordinary power, Oedipus becomes awe-inspiring.
Dr. Woodruff’s book First Democracy demonstrates the development of democratic ideas in popular arts, primarily in theatre, rather than in philosophy in Athens. He participated with Sam Naifeh and Tom Singer in the Institute’s November 2006 program “Democracy in America” during which selected portions of Sophocles’ Antigone were read and commented upon. His most recent article, not yet published, “Sacramental Theater,” was inspired by play readings of this kind.
PAUL WOODRUFF, PH.D., was born in New Jersey and raised in western Pennsylvania. He has advanced degrees from Princeton and Oxford University and military combat experience in Vietnam. He is currently Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas. His translations of Sophocles with Peter Meineck include Antigone (Woodruff), Oedipus Tyrannus (Woodruff and Meineck), Oedipus at Colonus (Meineck), Ajax (Meineck), Women of Trachis (Woodruff), Electra (Woodruff), and Philoctetes (Meineck). Dr. Woodruff has also translated The Bacchae of Euripides, The Symposium of Plato, and other works. Woodruff addresses the significance of theater in his book The Necessity of Theater: The Art of Watching and Being Watched, and his other writings include: First Democracy; Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue; Thucydides On Justice, Power, and Human Nature, and The Ajax Dilemma: Justice, Fairness, and Rewards. He has edited: Facing Evil: Confronting the Dreadful Power Behind Genocide, Terrorism, and Cruelty (co-editor Jungian Analyst Harry Wilmer); and Reason and Religion in Socratic Philosophy (edited, with Nicholas D. Smith).
No Continuing Education Credits are Available for this Event.