The Oedipus Cycle

The proximal thrills and clever material frugalities of small independent theater abound in Balagan’s adaptation of Sophocles’s ancient tale about the most famous taboo-breaker of all time. The 10 authors (including several cast and production team members) have strung the text's most poignant, violent, and intriguing moments into a deliciously dangerous 90-minute necklace. Varied creepy lighting and haunting sound effects evoke psychological states and spaces from cave to countryside, bar, and womb; while the abstract, economical set (which centers around a cross-slab of rock or tree trunk) fertilizes the imagination. The murderous sphinx is a dominatrix whose death is announced while Oedipus and his queen mum copulate like interlocking binder clips. The oracle is a puddle of lights beaming up through the slab. Sometimes the multiple-roles-per-actor business gets confusing, but it’s not a major distraction. Jake Groshong and Ryan Higgins’ directing emphasizes emotional urgency over technical precision, which seems a good choice for such primal material. MARGARET FRIEDMAN

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: May 13. Continues through June 5, 2010

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