The Production of King Oedipus is a masterful behind-the-scenes account of preparations for the production of Aeschylus’ Oedipus Rex at the Festival Theatre, Stratford, Ontario, in 1954.
Written by the theatre’s Artistic Director, Tyrone Guthrie, and the theatre’s designer, Tanya Moiseiwitsch, this longform essay offers remarkable insights into their collaborative process, exploring the symbolism of the play, the ritualistic tone of the performance and the technical challenges of acting in masks.
Tanya Moiseiwitsch (1914-2003) was a pioneering figure of theatre design whose career spanned more than 50 years.
After studying at the Central School of Art and Design in London, Tanya joined the Old Vic as a scene-painter during Tyrone Guthrie’s first season in 1933. She went on to become the designer of numerous productions for Guthrie at the Old Vic, the Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and on Broadway. Tanya was also a designer at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin (1935-39), where she designed more than 50 productions.
In 1953, Guthrie invited Tanya to design a new theatre for the inaugural festival in Stratford, Ontario, which would have a thrust stage. Working with Guthrie, Tanya developed her trademark design for the thrust stage, which she further refined at the Guthrie Theater (1963) and the Crucible Theatre (1971).
Aside from her work with Guthrie, Tanya designed productions at the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera (New York) and on Broadway. At one point in her career, there were five productions she had designed running in London at the same time.
Tanya Moiseiwitsch died in May 2003.
The Production of King Oedipus by Tyrone Guthrie and Tanya Moiseiwitsch was published by Wordville in 2022, with permission of The Tyrone Guthrie Centre.