The Gospel at Colonus is Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s 1983 adaptation of Sophocles’s Oedipus at Colonus, written at the end of the fifth century BCE. It is a symbiotic world blending ancient Greece with Black spiritual practice.
After years of exile away from Thebes, the legendary city he once ruled, the blind Oedipus arrives at Colonus, a town outside of Athens. Pursued by adversaries, Oedipus promises Theseus, king of Athens, that if this sacred spot can be his resting place, he will posthumously protect the city. Theseus agrees. With the help of Theseus and his daughters, Antigone and Ismene, Oedipus thwarts King Creon, ruler of Thebes, and Polyneices, Oedipus’s own son. At the end of a life steeped in murder and incest, Oedipus eventually finds rest and redemption. Through his death, he becomes divine and showers blessings upon Colonus and those of us gathered in communion.
- How Did We Get to Colonus? Understanding The Gospel at Colonus and the Oedipus Family Tree: Untangle the web of Oedipus’s family tree, his life, and the order of events immediately preceding The Gospel at Colonus.
- Oedipus: Protagonist of Oedipus Rex and The Gospel at Colonus. A prophecy foretells that he will kill his father and marry his mother; he does, and the prophecy is fulfilled. Upon learning the truth of who he is and what he has done, he blinds himself and exiles himself from Thebes, his homeland (played by Kelvin Roston Jr.)
- Antigone: Daughter and sister of Oedipus (played by Aeriel Williams)
- Ismene: Daughter and sister of Oedipus (played by Ariana Burks)
- Polyneices: Son and brother of Oedipus; after refusing Oedipus’s exile, Oedipus lays a curse upon him that he will die in battle (played by Kai A. Ealy)
- Creon: King of Thebes and Oedipus’s uncle, brother-in-law, and adversary (played by Timothy Edward Kane)
- Theseus: King of Athens (played by Mark Spates Smith)
- Choragos: Choral leaders and citizens of Colonus (played by Shari Addison and Eric A. Lewis)
- The Friend: Citizen of Colonus, soloist who welcomes the audience to Colonus (played by Juwon Tyrel Perry)
- Evangelist: Citizen of Colonus, soloist who often offers helpful exposition or information (played by Jessica Brooke Seals)
- Chorus: The citizens of Colonus; their songs advance the plot, offer perspective, praise and condemn, and guide the audience (played by Shari Addison, Eric A. Lewis, Juwon Tyrel Perry, Jessica Brooke Seals, Cherise Thomas, Jerica Exum, Shantina Lynet’, Isaac Ray, Eva Ruwé)