Kitchener-Waterloo

Gord Rand bares all in extended nude scene at Stratford Festival

Oedipus Rex goes all the way: At Ontario's Stratford Theatre Festival, the play uses an extended nude scene to underscore stripping away of character's achievements.
Gord Rand stars as the title character in Stratford Festival's production of Oedipus Rex. (David Hou/Stratford Festival)

Since the beginning of July, actor Gord Rand has been living many people's worst nightmare two to three times a week. 

At the end of his performance as Oedipus Rex, in the Stratford Festival production of the same name, he's naked in front of a room full of strangers — almost 500 of them. 

"Being naked on stage is quite a bold theatrical gesture and a controversial one," admits Rand.

"Perhaps in Italy and places in Europe, it's not quite as new; I had to be sure that it was going to be justified."

The scene underscores the depth of his character's painful downfall. 

Oedipus, an orphan, has just learned that a stranger he killed long ago was in fact his birth father, and the woman he married years later was that stranger's wife. 

When Oedipus discovers that he has unwittingly fulfilled a prophesy that he would murder his father and marry his mother, he stabs out his eyes in anguish. 

"And the final scene is him blind, naked, stumbling around the stage, trying to get [his subjects] to come to terms with what happened to him," says Rand. 

"At the end all this stuff is stripped away from him, so there's this kind of metaphorical stripping of the character's status, his achievements — who he thinks he is. 

"Here is the man at his most bestial. He has been abandoned by the Gods. Everything that has made him human before has been taken from him."

Listen to the the full interview with Gord Rand with the link below. 

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