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A feminist rethink of the Oedipus story probably wouldn’t have seemed any less obvious an idea back in the ’70s, when theater historian Philip Freund wrote his, but at least the conceit wouldn’t have felt quite as dated as it does now. Alas, Freund’s Jocasta, which sets the familiar incest-and-intrigue tale in 19th-century Martinique and essentially dismisses Oedipus himself as a figure of any interest, languished unproduced during the ’70s—and the ’80s and the ’90s, too. Indeed, the Natural Theatricals program indicates that here we have the world-premiere production, and having seen the beast it’s tempting to observe that now we know why: The rewrite’s wordy, formal repetitiveness (a product of the tragedy’s roots in Greek drama) and strained, on-the-surface gender-politicking (a product of its genesis in the era of second-wave feminism) don’t play particularly well together. Imagine Sophocles as dramaturged by Catherine MacKinnon, and you’ll be near the mark: Someone actually says something to the effect of “All sex is assault.” (Actually, what she says is something along the lines of “All zex eez assault,” because director Gregory Stuart has engaged someone purporting to be a coach in the Martinician dialect, which makes the production a sort of three-hour distraction—so imagine Sophocles as dramaturged by MacKinnon and acted by Simone de Beauvoir.) The racial complications are apt enough, given the bitter rivalries and prejudices among Greek city-states, but Rita Dove better managed the blend of epic scope and personal tragedy in her 1996 play The Darker Face of the Earth, which similarly updated the story to a slavery-plagued society (the pre–Civil War South). And though Freund’s focus is less on the Oedipus character (here he’s Yébé, a mixed-race bastard child raised as a cane-field worker) than on his unsuspecting mother, the headstrong plantation heiress and sexual taboo-breaker Catherine de la Célianne, the production gets no help from Cezar Remon’s mumbly, unfocused performance as Yébé; he’s got zero charisma and brings no sense of danger, and surely you’d like at least one of those options in your Oedipus. Paula Alprin finds both pathos and poise in Catherine’s predicament, but Stuart’s direction hasn’t done much to help her impose shape or specific, moment-to-moment motivations on the sprawling part, so her performance comes off feeling like a position paper on sexual hypocrisy in the French colonial possessions. The best moments come toward the end, as Catherine and her confidante (an agreeable Lolita-Marie) confront the story’s horrible truths and wrestle with questions of responsibility and fate—but by and large this production makes Freund’s adaptation feel less like a compelling drama than a cultural curiosity.—Trey Graham