Classic 'Antigone' receives updated treatment

two actressesA 2,500-year-old Greek tragedy is given a modern spin in the SUNY Oswego theatre department production of “Antigone,” the current production in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

Written by French playwright Jean Anouilh and translated by Jeremy Sams, “Antigone” is the story of the late King Oedipus’ young daughter who, despite threats to her own life, wishes to honor her dead brother with a proper burial.

Anouilh’s play was an immediate international success with content that resonated with audiences, director Mark Cole said.

“The play was first presented in the early 1940s in Nazi-occupied Paris and audiences viewed it as a political play for different reasons,” Cole said. “The resistance embraced the rebellious Antigone and her Joan of Arc attitude of saying no to compromise. The right-wing collaborationists in the audience saw the pragmatic Creon as the winner—the man who can roll up his sleeves and get the job done.”

Cole, professor and chair of theatre at SUNY Oswego, said Anouilh’s innovative storytelling also made the work remarkable. “Anouilh often used metatheatrical devices such as masquerades, disguises, plays and performances to explore the tensions between illusion and reality,” Cole explained. “Many of his characters are performers of one sort or another: buskers, dancers, musicians.”

The Oswego production will add its own touches to the adaptation, such as presenting the play on a stage within a stage.

The imagery of Joseph Cornell’s box constructions is used to blend elements in a surprising manner and serves as a visual metaphor for the play that mixes mythic and ancient influences with contemporary touches, Cole added.

“Antigone” continues with 8 p.m. performances 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

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PHOTO CAPTION: Family matter—Ismene (Megan McGarvey, left) worries as her sister Antigone (Samantha Mason) is threatened with death for defying the orders of their uncle, Creon, ruler of Thebes, in the SUNY Oswego theatre department’s production of “Antigone.” The modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy will open Oct. 13 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

(Posted: Sep 27, 2006)