'Antigone' production offers several levels of lessons

Antigone couple“Antigone” opens SUNY Oswego’s theatre season by offering educational lessons on several levels. Jean Anouilh’s adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy is currently running in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.


When Anouilh’s version debuted in France during World War II, its political nature helped make it an instant sensation, director Mark Cole said. The plot shows idealism confronting authority, as Antigone defies the orders of her uncle, Creon, ruler of Thebes, by trying to do what she sees as right in a bloody family conflict he hopes to suppress.

The French Resistance saw Antigone as an uncompromising, heroic role model and Creon’s administration as the French Vichy government compliant with the occupying Nazis, while authorities and Nazi sympathizers identified with Creon’s pragmatic actions, Cole explained.

Oswego’s version of “Antigone” will retain much of the original Greek flavor while providing a visual connection for modern audiences.

At the same time, the staging of the play presents a hands-on learning opportunity for the student cast and crew.

The lead character of Antigone, played by SUNY Oswego senior Samantha Mason, is one that demands special attention. “I believe the many facets of a character can be found within the text if examined closely,” Mason said. Her previous experience with other versions of “Antigone” helped prepare her for this performance, she said.

Mike Racioppa, a senior theatre major who plays the role of Antigone’s fiance, Haemon, said he feels that an actor can read between the written lines and add to a role by integrating personal characteristics into the equation.

Racioppa said that his own interpretation of Haemon will bring a sense of playfulness. “Antigone needs someone to make her smile, and Haemon needs someone to need him,” he explained.

Senior theatre major Deva Holub, who plays the role of the nurse, has a slightly different perspective. Holub’s approach is to find something in the character that may be shadowed by other dominant traits. “What I enjoy about the nurse is how uncensored and outspoken she is,” Holub said. “It’s been an exciting process to try and find the nurturing aspects of the character.”

For all the hard work and personal sacrifices that go into staging “Antigone,” Holub said, “My favorite part of the whole production was the moment when the actors didn’t need the scripts anymore and the props were added . . . the whole world of the play came to life.”

“Antigone” opened at 8 p.m. Oct. 13 with additional 8 p.m. performances Oct. 14, 20 and 21. A 2:30 p.m. matinee is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 22. Tickets for the regular run cost $12 ($10 seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

For reservations and information, call Tyler box office at 312-2141 or e-mail tickets@oswego.edu.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Family matter—Antigone (Samantha Mason, right) shares a moment with her fiance, Haemon (Mike Racioppa), after she is accused of defying the orders of her uncle, Creon, ruler of Thebes, in the SUNY Oswego theatre department’s production of “Antigone.”

(Posted: Oct 06, 2006)