The Gospel at Colonus Directed by Kirk Browning, 1985
A renowned collaboration between experimental theater director Lee Breuer and composer Bob Telson, THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS retells Sophocles’ classical tragedy Oedipus at Colonus through the medium of modern gospel.
This filmed version of the much-lauded 1985 Philadelphia performance traces the epic storyline of the original text, while also interweaving aspects of Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and the Christian salvific narrative. Taking up the dramatic tension and emotional turmoil of classical tragedy and infusing it with passionate, inventive performances and an electrifying gospel- and soul-inflected musical montage, the production also features an unforgettable cast, including Jevetta Steele, Isabell Monk, Robert Earl Jones, Carl Lumbly, Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama (who collectively play Oedipus), and, as the Messenger (and here Pentecostal preacher), Morgan Freeman. Freeman’s commanding oratory to a rapt live audience recasts classical rhetoric in an African-American gospel mode, impressively fusing Hellenistic myth and Christian parable.
Finally available on DVD, THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS showcases the pinnacle of postmodern theater and captures live drama at its most vibrant, daring, and innovative.