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Robert Icke’s Oedipus: a time-bending, contemporary take on Sophocles’s tragedy

Robert Icke has a thing for playing with time. The British directors Oedipus for Internationaal Thea..



Robert Icke has a thing for playing with time. The British directors Oedipus for Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, which premiered in the Netherlands in April 2018 and now makes its UK premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival, is performed to an illuminated stop clock counting down from two hours to zero. Or does it?

Time is slippery where Oedipus is concerned. The programme states the running time as “approximately two hours”, the EIF website says “1 hour 45 minutes”, and the digital display itself reaches 00:00:00 at a crucial juncture somewhat prior to the curtain call. In fact, 15 minutes have already disappeared when the actors first speak following a video clip that – I swear – does not last a quarter of an hour. Moreover, if you train your eyes on it, Im sure that clock possesses the ability to magic away whole minutes from the display. And its seconds? Im not sure they really last a whole second. Maybe theyre more like an eighth of a second…

There could, of course, be nothing dodgy with the clock. This could be a trick of perception – can I really estimate the duration of a video that accurately? – because what actually matters here is the sense that time is sped-up and the doomed Oedipus (Hans Kesting) is unstoppably hurtling towards the revelation that will seal his fate.

Performed in Dutch with English subtitles, Ickes take on Sophocles tragedy imagines Oedipus as a maverick politician on the cusp of winning an election with promises of a better, brighter and fairer future for the populace. His campaign posters are borrowed straight from the Obama electoral campaign and so are his critics: there are cries for Oedipus to make public his birth certificate. As they wait for the results to come in, Oedipus and his family retire to the campaign HQ, which is being rapidly dismantled and packed away by the hangers-on of Team Oedipus.

Unlike in the original, there is no suggestion Oedipus was given the prophesy of murdering his father and marrying his mother prior to doing either. His first notification comes from the aged Teiresias (Hugo Koolschijn), whose words Oedipus dismisses as either New Age claptrap or politically motivated lies. Ickes Oedipus, then, is never given the chance to at least try avoiding the prophesy by, for example, not marrying someone older than him. Its a minor change, but it heightens the sense that its Oedipuss obsessive search for the truth of how Laius, his political predecessor and wifes former husband, died – not the fact he made the famous errors – that sees him zooming towards his own downfall at supersonic speed.

Ickes other time-bending productions, Shakespeares Hamlet and Ibsens The Wild Duck, both at the Almeida Theatre, slowed everything down to the speed of black treacle dripping off a cold spoon. The Wild Duck did this by repeatedly breaking up the performed sections of the narrative with meta-theatrical monologues about the writing of the play and its historical context, so the impending tragedy was kept tantalisingly out of reach. Andrew Scotts Hamlet, meanwhile, delivered his lines with such huge, heavy and long pauses the collective breath-holding of the audience was almost audible. But where they were both masterpieces of delayed gratification, Oedipus is a 100-metre dash straight into a brick wall.

Icke is frequently compared to Ivo van Hove, artistic director of the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, which merged with Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg to become Internationaal Theater Amsterdam in January 2018. From a British perspective, both men create the type of slick, sexy and radical rewrites of the classical canon deemed European in approach. There are similarities, but its a lazy comparison: while Van Hove regularly directs visually and formally impressive work thats easy to objectively admire but hard to respond to emotionally, Icke is all about big, messy, overwhelming feelings. Look at the audience of an Icke play as the lights go up and its not uncommon to see whole rows of people wiping tears or sitting silent and shell-shocked.

Oedipus is no different. And with everything moving so fast,Read More – Source

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Burkina Faso military says it has seized power



The military in Burkina Faso says it has seized power and overthrown President Roch Kaboré.

The announcement was made on state television by an army officer, who cited the deteriorating security situation for the military takeover.

Mr Kaboré had faced growing discontent over his failure to stem an Islamist insurgency.

His whereabouts are unclear, but the officer said that all those detained were in a secure location.

The coup comes a day after troops seized barracks, and gunshots were heard in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Earlier, the ruling People’s Movement for Progress (PMP) party said that both Mr Kaboré and a government minister had survived an assassination attempt.

On Sunday, mutinying troops demanded the sacking of military chiefs and more resources to fight militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda.

The army statement said Mr Kaboré had failed to unite the nation and to deal effectively with the security crisis which “threatens the very foundations of our nation”.

The statement was issued in the name of a group not heard of previously, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration or MPSR, its French acronym.

Although read out by another officer, the statement was signed by Lt-Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who is believed to be the coup leader and a senior commander with years of experience fighting the Islamist militants.

The statement said that parliament and the government had been dissolved, and the constitution suspended, but promised a “return to constitutional order” within a “reasonable time”.

The military also announced the closure of Burkina Faso’s borders.

UN chief António Guterres condemned the coup and called on the military to “ensure the protection and the physical integrity” of Mr Kaboré.

The African Union and regional bloc, Ecowas, have also condemned the forceful takeover of power, with Ecowas saying it holds the soldiers responsible for the deposed president’s well-being.

Earlier, the news of his detention was received with cheers and celebrations in Ouagadougou, reports the BBC’s senior Africa correspondent Anne Soy.

Earlier video footage from the capital appeared to show armoured vehicles – reportedly used by the presidency – peppered with bullet holes and abandoned in the street.

Mobile internet services have been disrupted, though fixed-line internet and domestic wi-fi are working.

Mr Kaboré has not been seen in public since the crisis began, but two posts appeared on his Twitter account before the officer announced he had been toppled.

The later one called on those who had taken up arms to lay them down “in the higher interest of the nation”. Earlier, Mr Kaboré congratulated the national football team on their win in an Africa Cup of Nations match.

It is unclear who posted the tweets.

Some security sources say the president and other government ministers are being held at the Sangoulé Lamizana barracks in the capital.

On Sunday, hundreds of people came out in support of the soldiers and some of them set fire to the ruling party’s headquarters.

The coup comes a week after 11 soldiers were arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow Mr Kaboré.

But discontent has been growing in Burkina Faso over the government’s failure to defeat an Islamist insurgency in the country since 2015.

That escalated in November, when 53 people, mainly members of the security forces, were killed by suspected jihadists. And on Saturday, a banned rally to protest against the government’s perceived failure led to dozens of arrests.

Mutinying soldiers made several demands, including: the removal of the army’s chief of staff and the head of the intelligence service; more troops to be deployed to the front line; and better conditions for the wounded and soldiers’ families.

Similar troubles in neighbouring Mali led to a military coup in May 2021 – one that was broadly welcomed by the public.

Burkina Faso is now the third West African country to witness a military takeover in recent years. Guinea and Mali have had sanctions imposed on them by Ecowas to press them to return to constitutional order.


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India Covid: Booster shots start for priority groups as cases surge



India has begun giving booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to priority groups amid a surge in infections.

Health and frontline workers and people above 60 years old with comorbidities are currently eligible to take the jab.

The drive began as India battles a spike in Covid cases fuelled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Early studies from other countries have suggested that a booster vaccine may provide more protection against Omicron.

The highly transmissive Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa in November.

Since then, several countries have expanded their booster programmes or shortened the gap between jabs to shore up protection against the variant.

In India, the booster shot – dubbed a “precaution dose” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – will be the same vaccine that was given to a person for their first and second doses.

India has been mainly administering two locally-manufactured vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, since its vaccination drive began in January 2021.

On Sunday, India reported more than 179,000 new infections for the past 24 hours, driven by a steep rise in cases in big cities such as the national capital Delhi and financial centre Mumbai.

On the same day, Mr Modi chaired a review meeting with top officials, and asked for “technical support” to be provided to states reporting more cases.

The government had begun administering vaccines to 15-18-year-olds last week – it has said that 31% of Indians in this age group have been given the first dose so far.

More than 91% adults have been partially vaccinated so far, while 66% have received both doses.

But experts say that still leaves millions of unvaccinated people – many with underlying health problems that could increase the severity of the infection – at risk.

The spread of Omicron has also increased worries – India has confirmed a total of 4,003 cases of Omicron, with Maharashtra state reporting the highest (1,126), followed by Rajasthan (529) and Delhi (513).

The country has so far recorded more than 35 million Covid cases and about 483,000 deaths from the virus.

Last year, a devastating second wave overwhelmed the country’s health system, leading to a shortage in oxygen, hospital beds and critical drugs.


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Emily in Paris Fans Think Kim Cattrall Will Make an Appearance in Season 3



instyle– Fans are speculating a major pop-culture crossover in season 3 of Emily in Paris. After Kim Cattrall infamously turned down the chance to revive her Sex and the City character, Samantha Jones, for the rebootfans couldn’t help but wonder if Jones could make an appearance in the next season of the cult-favorite Netflix show.

If you’re watching And Just Like That … (and even if you’re not), you know that Cattrall’s character is supposedly off working her public relationships magic in London, England, just a quick trip from Emily (Lily Collins) and her booming marketing firm, Savoir.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Emily in Paris Season 2

Fans noticed major parallels between the characters, from their location to their sex positivity to their career in communications. Plus, both series were created by big-time Hollywood producer Darren Star — with SATC costume designer Patricia Field now responsible for Emily’s kitschy, Parisian looks — making a collab that much more believable.

One Twitter user wrote, “Current theory: Samantha has supposedly moved overseas, hence her lack of presence in the new SATC TV series. Then she shows up by total surprise in a crossover episode of EMILY IN PARIS. I would watch Samantha try to tolerate Emily, 100 percent.”

Collins fueled the flames by teasing a possible season 3. The actress posted photographs from her Vogue Hong Kong cover featuring a jet-black shag haircut and dark makeup writing, “Season 3 pivot?? Who’s with me? …” Collins used the same caption when reposting a fan’s Tweet with the magazine images that read, “Emily in Berlin.”

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