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After a nomadic couple of years that saw Axiom Repertory Theatre mounting plays in churches, schools, the Cascade Theatre and Old City Hall, the theater company finally has a home of its own.
To celebrate, Axiom is reaching back in history—way, way back, like 2,500 years—to bring to life Sophocles’s “Oedipus Tyrannus,” the classic Greek tragedy that’s also known as “Oedipus Rex” and is considered a masterpiece.
Ken Hill, Axiom’s CEO and artistic director, said he’s been infatuated with “Oedipus” since his introduction to it as a Eureka High School student. “To my mind, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Hill recalled.
Hill kept returning to the play throughout his career as an educator and never failed to marvel at the look on students’ faces as they learn of Oedipus’s twisted tale and grisly fate. Someday, he told himself, he’d produce the show.
Flash-forward a decade or two and Hill and his wife, Nancy, are at the helm of an ambitious theater company with the freedom to mount both contemporary and classical works and a permanent space they can call their own.
The new home is a former nightclub at 2613 Bechelli Lane. Axiom christened the building with a Halloween production of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on temporary risers and then set to work building a more permanent performance space. Massive 4×8 beams and plywood for a stage and platforms were donated by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Win-River Casino chipped in $20,000 worth of lighting equipment, Hill said.
Axiom will make full use of those new amenities for “Oedipus,” the infamous saga of a king, Oedipus, who is desperately searching for the murderer of his father (the previous king) to end a plague that has been ravaging Thebes.
Without spoiling the plot, suffice to say extremely extenuating circumstances complicate Oedipus’s investigation, including some adverse childhood experiences and his selection of Jocasta as his queen.
Hill, who is directing the play, said he has assembled a top-flight cast that is up to the challenge. Caz Crozier has been cast as Oedipus; Pamela Carney is Jocasta; Jarred Newman is Creon; Mat McDonald plays Tiresias; and Amy Dunn, Katy Redmon and Vicki Richardson are the High Priestesses. Others in the cast include Ragan Ragan, Angelica Quintero, Jet Thomas, Erin Rice Berenger, Cassie McEachen, Gabe Newman, Raina Kunde, Billy Bottum, Julia Berenger and Emilee Larkins.
“This is truly an actor-driven production. I’ve just been lucky to tag along for the ride,” Hill said.
If you’re going:
“Oedipus Tyrannus” continues at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Jan. 25 with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees through Jan. 26
Tickets, priced at $30, adults; $25, children, seniors and students, are available by visiting www.axreptheatre.com
Axiom Repertory Theatre is located at 2613 Bechelli Lane, just south of Lumberjack’s