By Sophocles; Adapted By John Hardy

There are two versions of this script:
1. Approximately 55 minutes; 2. Approximately 75 minutes.

About the Play

This adaptation emphasizes the last desperate moments of a city that is on the verge of extinction. Their leader, Oedipus, stubbornly refuses to give in to the scourge that is destroying his city and its people. He fights like a man possessed to find those responsible. What he finds is the answer to the first and greatest mystery in theatre history. This is a city that has one hour left in its long, glorious life. That hour is what you will see in this production. "Will those responsible for our destruction be found and punished? Can we be saved from certain death? Will we live to see tomorrow or is this our last hour?"

Every effort has been made to make certain the script is engaging, understandable and entertaining. This can be difficult to accomplish when you are working with a play that is 2400 years old, was originally written in a now extinct language (ancient Greek) and comes from a country deep in the continent of Europe, which is, obviously, far from the USA.

Anyone can take a famous title and end up with a playscript that is "entertaining" for students and teachers by changing it to the degree that it no longer resembles the original play. But it is an achievement to entertain and engage all the while retaining the qualities that made this play significant in the history of literature.

Cast Size/Doubling

This production of OEDIPUS THE KING uses six actors; the actor playing Oedipus will play that role only; the other five actors will play two or three roles each.

Doubling (and tripling) of actors can be a problem if the distinction between characters played is not made clear. One way of defining one character from another, when played by the same actor, is: costume; the costume helps to distinguish the character for the audience. In this production, the audience will be able to see the actors actually changing costumes from one character to another and this will help to clarify, for the audience, when an actor switches from one character to another.

An interesting note: Before Sophocles, the Greek theatre used:

  • A chorus of ten - fifteen
  • One actor playing the lead
  • One other actor playing all the other roles

Sophocles introduced a third actor. So you had:

  • A chorus of ten - fifteen
  • One actor playing the lead
  • Two actors playing all the other roles

Using fewer actors than characters, which requires actors to play more than one role, is an aspect of this production that is shared with the productions of Sophocles time. An advantage of this technique is that it seems to focus the audience on the main character.

Royalty Fees

75-minute version:

  • First two performances: $75 each
  • Subsequent performances: $50 each

55-minute version:

  • First two performances: $50 each
  • Subsequent performances: $30 each


1 hour OR
1 hour, 20 minutes
6 actors


"Hardy's adaptation is the best I've ever seen. ...Rollicking good fun... A Fast and furious adventure...those of us who love Twain will find the adaptation a loyal rendering of the novel and those less familiar will have no trouble at all following the twists and turns of the plot. This is a play that everyone in the family will enjoy." — Robert McKinney, The Bristol Herald Courier