In 1954, Stratford’s Artistic Director, Tyrone Guthrie, decided to put on two plays by Shakespeare and then branch out and do a third play not by the Bard. That third play, Oedipus Rex, must have been quite a success because the following year Guthrie decided to again stage a third non-Shakespeare play. This time around, he opted to do King Oedipus.
King Oedipus is simply the English title of Oedipus Rex. They are the same damn play.
So, really, I don’t have much more to say about this that I didn’t already say before. Other than the fact that the character of Oedipus was played by Douglas Campbell rather than James Mason this time around, I find every indication that the rest of the production and most of the cast was basically carried over from the previous season. So, for the second year in a row Shatner would have performed in the play as a member of the Chorus.
So: if you missed my extremely interesting post on Oedipus Rex the first time around, check it out now!
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It’s time to detail all of the connections between Oedipus Rex and other Shatner appearances!
Pretty much the entire company would appear in both of the other 1955 Stratford Festival plays. Many had also acted in the 1954 season, as well as in subsequent Stratford productions with Shatner. Indeed, many of them would also appear in the Tyrone Guthrie directed Broadway production of Tamburlaine the Great in early 1956, and the Guthrie directed film version of Oedipus Rex in 1957. Rather than list all of those actors here, and name each and every production they appeared with Shatner in, I’m going to cherry-pick some of the more interesting connections.
Douglas Campbell had just appeared with Shatner in “Billy Budd”, an episode of General Motors Theatre.
Eric House appeared in an episode of Scope, “The Verdict Was Treason”, as well as in the 1960 TV Movie, Point of Departure.
Tony Van Bridge appeared in the 1979 Canadian film, Riel.
William Hutt had previously appeared in a 1955 episode of General Motors Theatre, “The Coming Out of Ellie Swan.”
Robert Christie, who played the title character in Julius Caesar, also worked with Shatner prior to Stratford in CBC Theatre’s “The Man Who Ran Away.” He also appeared in Scope’s “The Verdict Was Treason” and in the film version of Oedipus Rex.
Ted Follows would follow Shatner to a 1956 appearance of On Camera’s “Dreams,” as well as to Festival’s 1960 “Julius Caesar.”
Robin Gammell also worked on Festival’s “Julius Caesar.”
Bruno Gerussi would be seen with Shatner in “Forever Galatea”, an episode of General Motors Theatre, and in 1960’s Festival production of “Julius Caesar.”
James Manser also appeared with Shatner in “The Big Leap.”
Neil Vipond would also work with Shatner in the 1958-1960 Broadway play, The World of Suzie Wong.
John Horton and Robin Gammell would later appear in 1960’s Festival production of “Julius Caesar.”
Louis Negin had previously appeared in the CBC Theatre episode, “The Man Who Ran Away.”
Robert Goodier appeared with Shatner at Stratford for all three seasons The Shat was there, plus in the 1956 Broadway version of Tamburlaine the Great and the 1957 film version of Oedipus Rex. In addition, he was in an episode of Omnibus with Shatner in 1956, Moliere’s School for Wives.
Some cool pictures of the festival (most with Shatner) can be found here.