Oedipus is perhaps the most familiar figure in Greek drama. He is doomed to kill his father and marry his mother. Although he spends his life trying to avoid his fate, in the end he must meet his worst fears.

"Your doom is not to fall by me . . . You are your own worst enemy," a seer tells the unhappy king.Tragedy. This play is a tragedy with a capital "T."

Sophocles' play is familiar and moving. The translation, by William Butler Yeats, is dramatic and poetic. So it didn't take a seer to predict that this production by the University of Utah Classical Greek Theatre was destined to be popular.

And it is.

Not only did plenty of average playgoers show up for the performance on a beautiful fall morning last Saturday - there were high school students by the bus- and carload. It seems that every high school English teacher on the Wasatch Front offered extra credit for viewing the free play.

Sunday's crowd was lighter, but still large. Next year, the university drama department should consider extending the run for one more weekend - or perhaps putting on a traditional sunrise performance, say on a Friday morning, especially for students.

Everyone in the audience, young and not so, seemed to follow and enjoy the action of Oedipus. The most pleasing parts of the play - besides the outdoor setting, which never fails to stir - were the costumes, masks, and Willard Knox's performance as Oedipus.

Because Knox wore a mask, he had to portray his moods without relying on his facial expression. Through his posture and voice, Knox set the tone. A proud king became a confused man, then an anguished man.

Ching-Yi Ma is the costume designer. She's an award-winner; Ching-Yi won first place from the Rocky Mountain Theatre Association this year. I loved watching the actors move about in the softly shaded robes she created.

Oedipus the King continues this weekend. Come early for a good spot.