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The Tiresias Project


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Sat, Oct 28.2023

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The Tiresias ProjectIn this offering to the Ancestral Institute, Theater of War Productions will present Ato Blankson-Wood (When They See Us, Detroit, Hamlet) and Jumaane Williams (NYC Public Advocate) performing a live scene from Sophocles’ 2,500-year-old play Oedipus the King to help frame a powerful discussion about timeless themes, such as arrogant leadership, ignored prophecy, intergenerational trauma, and the human capacity for denial. The scene will feature the blind-seer Tiresias, an ancient Greek shaman who gained the gift of prophecy after transitioning gender. In the scene, Tiresias faces off with an arrogant king (Oedipus), who publicly dismisses his gifts and ignores his prophecy about the source of a plague that is ravaging the archaic city of Thebes. Following the scene, a group of Ancestral Institute members will offer their immediate gut responses to the scene, and the session will culminate in a guided audience discussion about how the myth of Tiresias resonates across culture and time.

About the play

  • Oedipus the King by Sophocles

    Sophocles’ Oedipus the King tells the story of an overconfident ruler during the time of a great plague, who refuses to listen to trusted advisors, ignores prophecy, and—after launching an investigation—discovers that he is the source of the contagion that is ravaging his people and his land. Upon uncovering the truth about himself and his role in the disaster, the king loses nearly everything—his crown, his wife, his power, his country, his honor—and wanders off into exile, a fate worse than death in ancient Greece. Oedipus the King is a timeless story about leadership, accountability, and the challenges faced by citizens and elected officials during pandemics and plagues.

Cast Members

  • Ato Blankson Wood Headshot

    Ato Blankson Wood

  • Jumaane Williams Headshot

    Jumaane Williams

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