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oEdipus rex 

A dance piece addressing incest survivors

 Tabula Rasa Dance Theater will create a new piece, “Oedipus Rex,” during the first cycle of 2022.  While activists have managed to alleviate the stigma attached to victims of sexual assault, rape, and gender-based violence, the traumas of incest survivors, by comparison, still remain shrouded in silence and shame.  Complicating the issue is the fact that incest was, in certain historical instances (such as within royal families), a standard practice.  We believe that in contemporary society, even in cases that claim to involve consent, some form of coercion, force, or abuse has been exercised.


Because incest causes lasting damage both to individuals and to the species as a whole—inbreeding weakens the gene pool—incest is indefensible from both a biological and an ethical standpoint.  Incest survivors need an environment that allows them to speak freely about their experiences without fear, and to seek help safely. Perpetrators need to face the same kind of punitive consequences as any other type of abuser.


After analyzing Sophocles’s “Oedipus Rex,” anthropology, zoology, and his own patients, Freud concluded that incest is “antisocial—civilization consists in its renunciation.”  Our dance piece will address similar, difficult themes, calling attention to the deleterious effects incest continues to have on individuals, society, and human evolution.