Adaptation of 'Antigone' looks at idealism, authority

Antigone castA young woman’s ideals collide with uncompromising authority in “Antigone,” the current production for SUNY Oswego’s theatre department.

“Antigone” by French playwright Jean Anouilh (in a translation by Jeremy Sams) runs through Sunday in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. Mark Cole, professor and chair of theatre at SUNY Oswego, directs this modern retelling of Sophocles’ classic tragedy.

“Antigone” tells of the battle between parents and children, the tensions between the idealist and the realist, and the conflict between individual rights and an absolute ruler.

Anouilh’s version centers on the conflict between Antigone (Samantha Mason) and her uncle Creon (Nathaniel Angstrom) after a civil war in Thebes that pitted Antigone’s brothers against each other.  After the brothers Eteocles and Polynices die in the war, their uncle Creon becomes ruler.

In order to restore political stability to the state, Creon declares Eteocles a hero and Polynices a traitor, unworthy of a burial. Creon further orders that anyone who attempts to bury Polynices is an enemy of the state and will be executed. Antigone defies the order and the stage is set for a battle of wills between the restless and uncompromising spirit of Antigone and the pragmatic, cynical Creon.

The struggle between rebellion and compromise is embodied in Antigone’s relationships with several other characters: her sister Ismene (Megan McGarvey) is determined that good sense outweigh civil disobedience; her fiance Haemon (Mike Racioppa) desperately tries to change Creon’s mind about the death sentence on Antigone; the nurse (Deva Holub) insists that Antigone conform to social expectations.

The cast also includes Tiemen Godwaldt as Creon’s page; Nicole Arbes as the messenger; Wayne Yaddow as Jonas, a guard; Benjamin Amey and Ian Ramsey as guards; and Danielle Piccione as Eurydice, wife to Creon. Lucaya Luckey-Bethany, Christy Pronto and Sara Weiler make up the chorus, the story’s narrators. 

Behind the scenes, the stage manager is Samantha MacArthur. Assistant stage managers are Mickennon Wilson, Alaina Parness and Nicole Irwin. Assistant director is Kim Saunders.

“The production, with scene design by Joe Rial, costume design by Kitty Macey, lighting design by Johan Godwaldt and sound design by Steve Shull, places the action in a room of classical proportions and decor,” Cole noted. “Since Anouilh bridged the worlds of the classical and the modern in theme and treatment, our production evokes the symmetry of classical Greece, but is firmly rooted in the modern world visually.”

“Antigone” will have 8 p.m. curtains on Oct. 20 and 21, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday, Oct. 22. Tickets cost $12 ($10 for 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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CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

PHOTO CAPTION: ‘Antigone’ angst—SUNY Oswego’s theatre season begins with Samantha Mason (center) playing the title character in Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone,” whose idealism leads to a battle of wills—and for her life—with her uncle, Creon, ruler of Thebes. Other cast members are, from left, Nathaniel Angstrom as Creon, Wayne Yaddow as Jonas, Mike Raccioppa as Haemon, Megan McGarvey as Ismene and Deva Holub as the Nurse. The modern adaptation of “Antigone” will open Oct. 13 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

(Posted: Sep 20, 2006)

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