OEDIPUS. George Galanakis. Adapted from plays. Sophocles and Euripides

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by George Galanakis Adapted from plays by Sophocles and Euripides WGAw Registered OVER BLACK We hear a woman's tormented SCREAM, muffled by her own will. FADE IN: A NEWBORN INFANT
by George Galanakis Adapted from plays by Sophocles and Euripides WGAw Registered OVER BLACK We hear a woman's tormented SCREAM, muffled by her own will. FADE IN: A NEWBORN INFANT wet with birth blood, takes its first breath and lets out a CRY. The baby s incessant HOWL echoes in the air. INT. PALACE OF CORINTH - THRONE ROOM - DAY KING POLYBUS, an old man in his early fifties, sits on his throne. The baby, clean and wrapped in a quilt, sleeps peacefully in his lap. QUEEN MEROPE, a woman in her early forties, stands next to Polybus. He smiles at the baby and looks up at Merope. A smile breaks into her lips. Polybus touches the infant s scraped and bruised ankles. POLYBUS (softly) Oedi... pus... EXT. PALACE OF CORINTH - DAY The CORINTHIANS have gathered before the royal palace. Two huge doors open wide. FOUR GUARDS come out and assemble. Polybus walks out with the baby in his arms. Merope and a middle-aged MESSENGER follow him. Polybus stands at the top of the stairs and gazes down at his people. He holds the baby high for all to see. POLYBUS Corinthians! This is my son! The heir of my fortune and the kingdom of Corinth! His name is... Oedipus! A cheer and applause goes up from the people. Polybus takes the baby into his embrace, kisses it lovingly on the forehead. The baby s eyes... TIME-LAPSE... turn into the eyes of a man., a handsome, young man with gentle eyes breaths heavily. Sweat pours over his face. 2. EXT. PALACE OF CORINTH - COURTYARD/BALCONY - DAY Oedipus charges forward. He spars with wooden practice swords with another young man his age, ATROS. King Polybus, much older now, stands on a balcony of the palace and looks down at the yard. Oedipus presses in on the attack. Atros shields himself and moves backwards. Oedipus swings without a pause, sword spinning with incredible speed. Atros retreats until he s backed against a column. The sword slips from his hands. He stands helpless. Oedipus raises his sword in the air... and brings it to a halt midair. He stares at Atros and flickers a mischievous smile. Oedipus lowers his weapon, turns his back on his adversary and walks away. Atros, overwrought with anger, picks up his sword, attacks Oedipus and hits him hard on the back. Oedipus is knocked down. ATROS Victory! Victory! He cheers, waving his sword in the air. Oedipus turns his ablaze eyes to Atros and stands up slowly. That was no victory, Atros. Your stroke was underhand. ATROS A soldier does not turn his back on an enemy. A soldier that strikes the enemy on the back is not worthy of his title! The boys get into a heated argument. Polybus, watching from the balcony, starts to laugh. Oedipus pushes Atros down to the ground. He stares at Oedipus, eyes blazing. ATROS You are not father s son! Do you hear me? Your true father abandoned you! Oedipus, shocked, moves closer to the boy. Atros, what is the meaning of your words? 3. Atros springs up, runs away. Oedipus eyes drift to the balcony. Polybus is still laughing, while clapping his hands together. INT. PALACE OF CORINTH - DINING ROOM - DAY Polybus sits at the head of the table. Merope is next to him. Oedipus and a few MEN also sit around the table. Oedipus has his lunch quietly. He steals a quick glance at his father talking and laughing with the men. Their eyes meet. Polybus raises his goblet to his son. Oedipus raises his goblet to his father and fakes a smile. They both down their drink. Oedipus glares at his father for several moments, bangs the goblet on the table, bolts up and leaves the table. His parents share a concerned look. INT. PALACE OF CORINTH - STABLE - NIGHT The door creaks open. A flaming torch flickers on as Oedipus enters the stable. The horses snort and whinny, spooked. Torch aloft, Oedipus strolls to a horse at the back of the stable. He places the torch on a pillar, stands in front of the animal. He beams and affectionately scratches the horse's neck. EXT. COUNTRY - SUNRISE Oedipus sits on his horse atop of a hill and gazes at the city of Corinth from far away. He spurs the horse into a gallop. EXT. COUNTRY - DAY The city of Delphi can be seen in the distance. Oedipus rides towards the city, weariness suffusing his face. He clearly travelled quite a distance. EXT. STREETS OF DELPHI - DAY Oedipus crosses the city towards a magnificent temple ahead of him. 4. EXT. TEMPLE OF APOLLO - DAY A line of PILGRIMS has been created before the stairs of the temple. Oedipus rears the horse to a stop, leaps off and trails it at the end of the line where he takes his turn. EXT. TEMPLE OF APOLLO - LATER Oedipus turn comes. TWO PRIESTS dressed in white wait at the bottom of the stairs. One of them leads Oedipus' horse away and the other guides Oedipus up the steps. They reach the top of the stairs. A statue of Apollo towers next to the impressive temple. The priest leads Oedipus to the entrance. There are FOUR PRIESTS in grey robes before the closed doors. A sign on a stone above the entrance reads: KNOW YOURSELF Two of the priests open the doors. Oedipus is perplexed. The faces of the priests encourage him to enter. Oedipus makes a hesitant step into the temple. INT. TEMPLE OF APOLLO/ORACLE CHAMBER - CONTINUOUS There are two lines of PRIESTESSES wearing grey robes along the hall. Oedipus paces through them. A PRIEST in black waits at the end of the hall and before the portal of the oracle chamber. Oedipus approaches him. The priest greets him with an imperceptible inclination of the head. Oedipus returns the salutation. PRIEST Present your question, my child. Holy Pythia shall tell you everything you need to know. Oedipus pauses for a moment, takes a deep breath and with a low and urgent voice: Who is... my true father? The priest goes into the chamber. Inside there are a few more PRIESTS in black, a statue of Apollo and PYTHIA dressed in a black, silk dress. Pythia is a woman in her late forties with long, white hair and a garland on her head. 5. She sits on a bronze tripod over a crack in the ground. A stone circle rounds the crack. The priest leans over, whispers into Pythia s ear and moves away. Another priest with a torch in his hand sets the circle on fire. Flames emerge around Pythia. The rest of the priests throw laurel leaves on the fire. Pungent fumes and fragrant incenses come out of the flames. Pythia inhales the vapors and falls into a trance. Oedipus watches, astounded. After a few moments, the fire burns out. Pythia sits still. Hypnotised. Ghastly. Suddenly, her eyes flash open, staring directly at Oedipus. Pythia signals to the priest. He dashes to her. Pythia whispers into his ear. The priest comes out of the oracle chamber, goes to Oedipus and stands before him. PRIEST My child, Pythia s unfailing words have spoken of your destiny. Oedipus listens in agony. PRIEST (cont d) You shall... kill your father and take your mother as your wife. Oedipus drops his jaw and gasps in shock. He stands almost motionless, staring at Pythia. She stares back. Two priests seize Oedipus arms and drag him outside. He looks over his shoulder. Pythia watches him leave. Their eyes meet for a single moment. EXT. TEMPLE OF APOLLO - DAY Oedipus flees down the stairs. He leaps onto his horse and races away from the temple. MONTAGE I) Oedipus urges his horse into a full gallop through a verdant meadow. His face a mask of anguish, still in shock. II) Corinth is visible in the distance. Oedipus reins his horse, gazes at the city and thinks. A moment later, he spurs the horse and moves away to the opposite direction. III) The night has fallen. Oedipus looks up at the stars in the sky, fascinated. IV) The sun kisses the horizon. Oedipus rides through a dense forest. Beams of light cut through the trees. 6. V) A lake ringed by the lush forest. The horse eats grass further away. Oedipus is bowed before the lake and washes his face. The waters go red. His clothes have splashes of blood hardly noticeable. VI) It s mid-day and the sun is hot. Scorching. A desolate, desert landscape stretches for miles. Oedipus rides his horse, exhausted. A city appears far away. END MONTAGE EXT. DESERT - DAY Huge rocks surround the road. Oedipus heads towards the city. As he gets closer to the rocks, something flies behind him. WOMAN S VOICE Stranger... Oedipus turns. Nothing there. Something flies ahead of him. WOMAN S VOICE (cont d) Stranger... He spins in front of him, surveys the area. There s nothing unusual. Just rocks and sand-dunes. He keeps riding. STRANGER! WOMAN S VOICE (O.S.) (cont d) The horse bolts, knocking Oedipus to the ground and runs away. Oedipus shifts his gaze atop of the rocks. The SPHINX stands on a high rock. She is a young woman with dog-like facial features and a pair of wings wrapped around her in a cocoon. The Sphinx unfurls her massive wings, revealing a hideously deformed body that can barely be recognized as the body of a female. Oedipus, startled, springs up, unsheathes a bloodstained sword and points it at the winged beast. What kind of a creature are you? SPHINX Put your sword back in its sheath, stranger. There is only one way past these rocks and, mark my words, that is without the use of your blade. 7. Oedipus sheathes his sword. What way is that... dire creature? SPHINX I am the Sphinx! The Sphinx flies down to Oedipus and sits on a rock near him. Her mouth is stained with dry blood. SPHINX (cont d) Now, stranger, if you wish to cross to this city, you must answer a riddle that I will put before you. Solve my riddle and you shall pass. Fail... and you shall die. Oedipus looks at her calmly. Oedipus thinks. SPHINX (cont d) What is your answer, stranger? Speak your riddle. The Sphinx beams, revealing her sharp teeth. SPHINX What animal is that which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two and in the evening upon three? Oedipus thinks. The Sphinx keeps smiling. A short pause. SPHINX (cont d) Answer, stranger... if you can. Man... Sphinx s evil smile fades away. (cont d)... who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks on two feet, and in old age with the help of a staff. 8. The Sphinx stares at Oedipus for a long time. She raises a SCREAM that echoes far and wide, spreads her wings and flies off. Oedipus gapes at the Sphinx as she vanishes in the sky. TWO VILLAGERS watch the incident from far away. They run to Oedipus. He walks towards the city. They meet. VILLAGER #1 My good man, what is your name? Oedipus. Son of... (hesitates)... son of Polybus. VILLAGER #2 You are a man blessed by the gods! VILLAGER #1 You broke our bondage to the wicked monster! You sent the Sphinx away! Oedipus looks at them, confused. VILLAGER #1 (cont d) Come, come! Go with us! The villagers lead ahead. Oedipus is behind them. EXT. HIGH GATES - DAY The gates open and they come through. When they approach the streets, the villagers start calling out their fellow citizens: VILLAGER #2 People of Theva! We are saved! The monster has left the city! Theva is saved! VILLAGER #1 Thevans! The Sphinx is no more! We are liberated! This man set us free! He solved her cunning riddle! THEVANS leave their work unattended and go to them. People surround Oedipus overwhelmed with admiration for their new hero. Oedipus is dazed. 9. EXT. STREETS OF THEVA - DAY A throng of people walk down the street. The two villagers lead the way, Oedipus and the rest of the people follow close behind. VILLAGER #1 People of Theva! The Sphinx has left the city! We are now free! Tell Creon! Tell the queen! Theva is delivered! Where are you taking me? VILLAGER #2 To the palace. You will be crowned king of Theva. Oedipus, surprised, stares at him with wide eyes. VILLAGER #1 The man that would liberate us from the monster would win the kingship. Many men before you have tried, but they all suffered a horrible death. VILLAGER #2 The throne of Theva is yours now! You will take the queen as your wife. EXT. PALACE OF THEVA - DAY A flight of a hundred stone stairs lead up to the palace. There are two temples, one from the left and one from right side of the steps. A towering statue of Apollo rises before each temple. The people of Theva have been raised before the stairs. TWO GUARDS stand rigid in front of the open palace gates. CREON and QUEEN come out. Creon is a middle-aged man in his early forties. Iocaste has reached her late thirties, although someone can barely notice it, because of her beautiful, ageless face and her long, black hair. The villagers and Oedipus step up to the palace. When they reach near the entrance, the guards block their path. The villagers fall to their knees and bow their heads in respect. Oedipus follows their lead. 10. VILLAGER #1 My queen, this is the man that made the monster fly away. Iocaste glares at Oedipus. He steals a quick glance at her. Creon goes to Oedipus and stands before him. CREON What is your name, my boy? Oedipus. CREON Rise, Oedipus. Kings do not bow. Oedipus, surprised, raises his eyes to Creon and slowly stands up. EXT. PALACE OF THEVA - LATER Through the open doors, Oedipus walks out wearing a shiny cloth and a crown on his head. Alongside him, walks Iocaste, dressed in a beautiful, blue wedding dress, garnished with golden pins. She s wearing her crown, too. The gathering of people applauds loudly. Iocaste glances at Oedipus blankly. He stares at her in admiration of her beauty. EXT. MAIN SQUARE - NIGHT Torches, shoved into the sand, round the square. Music plays and people dance. It is a celebration for the Thevans. Wine and food for everyone. INT. PALACE OF THEVA - ROYAL BEDCHAMBER - NIGHT Iocaste stands in front of a window, gazing at the city. The MUSIC can be heard in the distance. Oedipus sits on the side of the bed and scans the length of Iocaste s gown. Her body. He gets up and motions to his wife. Oedipus caresses Iocaste s arm. She goes stiff. Oedipus moves his hand on her cheek and brings her face to his. They stare at each other for a long moment and then kiss. EXT. THEVA - SUNRISE SUPERIMPOSE: 20 YEARS HAVE PASSED... The sun is starting to rise over Theva. The city spreads below, shimmering with sunlight. 11. MONTAGE I) Dozens of crows fly in the sky, circling above the city. II) A MAN walks down the street and leans against a nearby wall for rest. He stays there for a moment. When he tries to walk again, collapses face down to the ground, dead. III) A YOUNG BOY cries. He enfolds his father's dead body lying on the side of the street. An OLD WOMAN grabs his arm, pulling him away. The boy won't let go. After a few more unsuccessful attempts, the woman quits her efforts and dashes away. IV) A dead horse lies on the ground left to rot. A few crows are clustered around the animal and feast on its corpse. V) A BABY cries in the arms of its dead mother, laying in the middle of the street. The infant s CRY echoes like thunder. TWO WOMEN passing by notice the baby. They keep walking, undisturbed. END MONTAGE EXT. MAIN SQUARE - DAY There s a horse-drawn cart in the middle of the square, half-loaded with dead bodies. Next to the cart, a pile of corpses lay spiritless. TWO SCAVENGERS, a sheet covering their face, stack the bodies upon the cart. People of Theva stand further away and watch the process. Men, women and children mourn for the loss of their loved ones. A GIRL tries to break free from her MOTHER s grip. The mother manages to restrain her daughter. EXT. HIGH GATE - DAY The enormous gates leading in and out of Theva open wide. The cart drives through them. EXT. DESERT - CONTINUOUS An harsh environment expands as far as the eye can see. The wind blows strong. The scavengers cover their eyes against the grains of sand flying in the air. The horses move with difficulty because of the hyperbolic transported weight. The driver whips up the horses and the cart dashes off. 12. EXT. DESERT - DAY A herd of dead sheep lies on the road. The driver pulls the reins. The cart begins to slow down and drives cautiously through the dead herd. EXT. DESERT - DAY Blazing flames. Dozens of corpses are burning in the middle of the desert. The scavengers stand by the fire, watching the dead scorch. Dark smoke blackens the clear blue sky. EXT. PALACE OF THEVA - NIGHT Around the altars of the palace numerous citizens of Theva are gathered, sitting in positions of supplication. They carry branches and garlands, and lay them on the shrines. The doors of the palace open. Oedipus comes forward, stands atop of the steps and looks down at his people. Behind him, the guards take their positions. Oedipus walks down to the crowd. Men wretched, seedy, and miserable beg him for help. One man kneels before him and kisses his feet. Oedipus helps him up. Oedipus walks up and stands high on the stairs so everyone can get sight of him. People of Theva! New blood of Cadmus' race, what is the meaning of this entreaty? He notices an OLD PRIEST in the front row of the crowd. (cont d) (to the priest) You, old man, should talk for them. What brings you here? A sudden fear? A strong desire? I shall willingly do anything to help my people kneeling at my feet. OLD PRIEST My king, you have seen our city's sickness. Blight falls on our harvests. Herds sicken to their death. Women give birth to dead children. Theva is dying, my lord. (MORE) 13. OLD PRIEST (cont'd) Long ago, it was you who came to us and unchained us from the Sphinx. Now, Oedipus, great and worthy, we seek your help once again. Find some liberation for us. Revive our city to life. I mourn for you, my poor children. How could I be blind to the reason that brings you here? How could I be blind to all that you suffer? And yet, while you suffer, no one is in more pain than I. There is one thing I ask from you. Patience. My fellow citizens, my friends, be patient. Creon will return and when he does, with the letter of the oracle in hand, whatever the gods demand, upon my honor, it shall be done. The citizens exchange satisfactory looks. OLD PRIEST We thank you, my lord. You have a gentle heart. Thank you. Oedipus bows in acknowledgement and steps up to the palace. The priest dismisses the suppliants. INT. PALACE OF THEVA - ROYAL BEDCHAMBER - NIGHT Iocaste is sleeping. Oedipus is seated in a corner of the room and observes her. His unrestful and reflective face can still be seen in the dark. INT. PALACE OF THEVA - ENTRANCE HALL - DAY Creon and his TWO FOLLOWERS enter the palace. INT. PALACE OF THEVA - HALLWAY - DAY Creon walks in quick pace through the long hallways of the palace. INT. PALACE OF THEVA - THRONE ROOM - DAY An empty room with beautiful murals to decorate the walls. A lonely throne stands in the back. Oedipus, distressed and impatient, paces about the room like a caged animal. 14. The doors fly open and Creon comes in. His followers stay near the doors. Oedipus darts to Creon. They embrace. Creon, my noble brother, what news? What was the message from the mouth of god? CREON Good news, Oedipus. Speak. What were the god's words? CREON The answer and strict command of Apollo is this. There is a taint on our land. A man born and bred on our soil infects us day by day. We must banish this man or settle his debt of blood for blood. Whose blood? CREON There was a king, Oedipus, that reigned this land before you. His name was Laius. So I heard. CREON He was murdered. The purpose of the god's charge is that we bring whoever responsible to justice. How did Laius die? CREON He left the land to learn how we might be delivered from the Sphinx. That was the last day we ever saw him. He never came back. Was there no word of his followers? CREON They all died, Oedipus... apart from one. He only told us one thing. 15. What was it? One thing may lead to others. CREON He said thieves attacked them. Not one, but many, put Laius to death. No thieves would do such a thing. CREON We never found out, Oedipus. When Laius died no leader helped us in our torments. Not until the gods sent you to us. I will start from ground and bring everything to light. Not to hand some distant kinsman, but for myself. Whoever killed the king with the
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