Antigone is a tragic play written by Sophocles in 442 BCE. Antigone was based off when the Theban Civil War had ended. Two brothers, Polynices and Eteocles, both died in the Theban war while fighting against each other to be the holder of the throne of Thebes. Instead of them ruling the throne, a man by the name of Creon took over. Creon insisted on honoring Eteocles, but leaving Polynices alone to rot. From this being said, Polynices is hated by Creon due to the treason Polynices committed against his own city. Polynices’s sister, Antigone wanted her brother to have a proper burial, so she went ahead and buried Polynices. This was considered treason against the law of Thebes and she was assigned a death penalty due to her actions.
Sophocles was born in 496 BCE and died in 406 BCE. He was born in Athens, Greece and became a greek playwright. “Of the approximately 125 tragedies that Sophocles is said to have written, only 7 have survived” (Encyclopedia of World Biography). Sophocles has many popular plays such as Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Electra, etc.
Antigone has been around for beyond centuries, and the play has been performed in many different ways. In 2015, Antigone was performed in the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania. This play was directed by Theodoros Terzopoulos. This version of the play creates a physical “rigorous methodology with a classical text performed in both English and ancient Greek by an international ensemble” (Terzopoulos) As I watched a clip from this production, the actors are not dressed in the greek time from the original play.
The majority of the actors are wearing solid black and are shirtless, while others in different scenes are covered in a giant blanket. This version of Antigone would be considered a mind-body movement. I believe this because they have a lot of of powerful voices. This small clip showed a powerful production with this play by their facial expressions, their movements with their body, and how they simply play their part. These actors are really good in this play production because of their strong voices in playing their role.
Another version of Antigone was produced in Hanover, New Hampshire. This theater, was presented by theater of war productions. This version was a strong, powerful production in which is based of the death of Michael Brown in 2014. This is a “clash between personal convictions and state law, punctuated by soul-searching gospel songs by Ferguson singers” (Theater of War Productions). In this version, they use a strong, loud chorus that really brings out the play itself. With the meaning behind the reason they did this play.
I find it very moving that they wanted to collide a real life incident to Antigone. Most of this entire performance, however, is mainly the gospel choir singing in between actor lines. The only downfall of this version is nobody is getting into their character, physically. I believe as an actor, you should be in your full character mentally, and physically. In this production, every actor is reading from their script with no eye contact to the other character. To me, this is not a good theater production because of that. Though the choir is strong, and the message is clear, I believe more physical contact should be involved in this play.
As there are multiple productions of the play Antigone, this will be the last production used in this essay. This version was produced right in Salt Lake City, Utah. Produced by L.L West, this version was to set in present day Syria. They dress the characters in what seems like middle eastern attire. They have a lot of different designed head pieces, scarves and jackets in this play. I find it very interesting the way they play their character in this type of clothing. The producer used the choir to sing parts of how modern society is based on today, such as social media, mobs, addicts, etc. From reading reviews based off characters performances, I would say this play is very well put together for the message the producer was trying to portray. I really enjoy the fact that producers put together plays in real life problems such as this one.
Concept: If I were to produce Antigone, in my perspective, I would make it collide with the problems we deal with in our everyday lives. For example, if a drug addict dies from an overdose, most people would make it seem like they deserve their death. Meanwhile, they still deserve proper respect. No matter what the cause of death was, they should still be respected. In Antigone, Creon did not want Polyneices to have a proper burial because of the crime he committed. I think the drug addict perspective would really relate to this because it could happen to a family member. By this being said, If my own brother were to die from an overdose, he still deserves a proper burial, just like Polynices deserved. The meaning behind my production would be that no matter what somebody does, they still deserve a proper,respectful burial. The theme or moral of my story would be Treat everybody with respect, no matter their actions
My concept is more than just the drug addict story, it goes as far as even prisoners rotting in their prison cell. I personally believe that prisoners deserve basic human rights because well, they are still human. So, for this reason, they still deserve a proper deathbed and everybody should always follow the term “respect the dead”. So as I would produce Antigone, my background regarding this production would be the endless people who do not get respected when they die because of their actions.
For each character’s costume, the costumes establish the times during the ancient greek time period. I designed each costume myself, and put myself as if I lived during those times. The social roles goes as follows: Antigone is wearing a long, tan robe, and high sandals. I feel as if this is the standard attire for the less fortunate people. Ismene is basically wearing around the same thing, but her whole attire is just robes and sandals. For Creon, as he is a king, I chose to put him into more royal clothing. Creon has his gold crown with a red ruby gem inside, with a vibrant red cape and a golden sash. I believe this was a good choice for a king back in the ancient greek era. I chose these costumes because these were the most fitting in my opinion for each character.
I chose to draw my set the way I did because I feel like the play would take place inside a castle. I feel a castle ruled by King Creon is a good choice because Antigone and Ismene are brought to Creon in his presence. I used the trojan helmets to show signs of the Theban Civil War to bring out that Antigone was based off that war. I also showed signs that it is indeed a king’s castle by having his throne and a picture portraying Creon above his chair with wrap around staircase through his castle. The set assists with the dramatic action by it being inside the castle at all times. I would not make scene switches as everything would stay inside castle limits.
The set embodies the life of Creon by it taking place inside his own castle during the play. Also, there are two trojan helmets on each side of the red carpet resembling a symbol of the two brothers who died during the war. The visual metaphor in this set design would again be the two helmets worn by the brothers who died in the war together. The set design shows small details that shows it is in greek times by having greek plants, a greek statue, and the trojan helmets. This lets the audience know that this castle was built during greek times. I feel the mood of this set would be sort of mellow. I feel this play does not have a set mood, as there are multiple moods expressed throughout this entire play. Therefor, my set design really does not have a set, exact mood.
The theme would be as stated, treat everybody with respect, no matter their actions. In my concept, I wanted to follow how society treats people who have done bad actions, and get no respect. This strongly relates to the original play of Antigone because of Polynices being left alone to rot on the battlefield. Antigone had every right to bury her brother, as everyone deserves a proper,respectful burial.
- “‘Antigone In Ferguson’ Presented by Theater of War Productions.” Default Site, hop.dartmouth.edu/online/theater-of-war-antigone-in-ferguson.
- Warne, Russell. “ANTIGONE Is New Again in 2012.” Utah Theatre Bloggers, 8 Sept. 2012, utahtheaterbloggers.com/12845/antigone-is-new-again-in-2012.
- “Sophocles Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, Advameg, Inc., www.notablebiographies.com/Sc-St/Sophocles.html.
- “Classical Literature.” Ancient Rome – Classical Literature, www.ancient-literature.com/greece_sophocles_antigone.html.
- Shmoop Editorial Team. “Antigone Writing Style.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008, www.shmoop.com/antigone-sophocles/writing-style.html.
- atiwilma. “ANTIGONE Now Playing at The Wilma Theater.” YouTube, YouTube, 14 Oct. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwFFYy3IiaY.