by Armando Nascimento Rosa
with a Foreword by Susan Rowland and Essays by Christine Downing and Marvin Carlson
With his new play, Jungian-oriented Portugese playwright Armando Nascimento Rosa takes on millennia of literary tradition and a century of psychoanalytic theory by casting Oedipus, the legendary ill-fated Theban king, in a bold, new light.
Inspired by James Hillman and others, Rosa probes deeper into Oedipus's family history and finds the source of his fate not in incest, as Freud believed, but in the now-forgotten crime of Oedipus's father, Laius, which occurred long before Oedipus was born: Laius's abduction and attempted seduction of Pelops's beautiful young son, Chrysippus. Rosa sees the Oedipus complex as part of a broader matrix of complexes, one that includes the less-well-known "Laius complex" - the desire of fathers to kill their sons preemptively for fear of being upstaged by them. Rosa seeks to uncover the archetypal dimensions of the tragedy, drawing readers and viewers of the play to a less literal, more imaginal understanding of human passions and desires.
The play unfolds in the manner of a psychotherapy session in which repressed memories are brought to consciousness and deep, dark secrets are revealed. Ghosts, spirit possession, shamanism, and psychology come together in a dizzying array that subjects readers and viewers of the play alike to a "gnostic" experience like no other before it. Rosa weaves together a number of contemporary issues, including homosexuality, homophobia, transgendering, and same-sex unions.
About the author:Armando Nascimento Rosa (1966-) is one of the most exciting new Portuguese playwrights to emerge in the 21st century. Author of seven books of plays and essays on drama, Rosa has a Ph.D. in Dramatic Literature and teaches Playwriting and Theory of the Theatre at Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema (College of Dramatic Arts and Cinema) in Lisbon, Portugal.