I had the pleasure of seeing the Department of Theatre & Drama’s Antigone this Thursday. While written by Sophocles in 441 BCE, Antigone has themes that can relate to today, delving into death, grief, and control.
Antigone is the story of Antigone’s rebellion against Creon, the new king of Thebes, who forbids Polyneices (Antigone’s brother, who died in battle) to be buried. Antigone commits civil disobedience by honoring her brother’s body before the gods, but she is punished by Creon who sees her act as a disobedience against him, the country, and… masculinity.
The cast brought life, passion, and sometimes humor to the roles. The chorus was beautifully-costumed, a task headed by SMTD production students. The choreography was imaginative and modern, well juxtaposed with the classical setting of the play. There were striking and dynamic individual performances by named characters at every turn, but a constant throughout the play was the impressive effort of the chorus, moving in coordination, many times speaking in unison.
A story of action motivated by grief is somewhat fitting for our current times, as we continue to navigate the pandemic and what it has left in its wake. Antigone defies cruel laws and the threat of death to bury her brother, which she sees as right in the eyes of the gods. Her act sends out a ripple effect, long after her tragic punishment.
Antigone is playing at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre February 17-20. Get tickets here.