"Antigone" is a play beyond time constraints, or ethnic—or indeed, linguistic boundaries Any nation living in any epoch, speaking any language can relate to it and can appreciate it. Even if our imagination takes us as far as Star Trek's 25th century, Sophocles' timeless tale will be relevant even there. Throughout history there has been constant conflict between the freedom of the individual and the constraints imposed by society on that individual. Sadly, there always will be tyrannical rulers and governments and often what is a perfectly sound moral choice for society as whole will be totally wrong for some individuals no matter how hard they try to adapt or fit in.
Antigone however is not trying to fit in She is too strong and free thinking to be able to live comfortably within the constraints of accepted law. She is not a criminal, she is simply above the law. That quality makes her incredibly enigmatic but also very dangerous. Is Sophocles' heroine really that super woman equal only to powerful Greek goddesses, or is she a destructive force to be feared and avoided? That is a difficult question but that's the one I'd like our production to pose. The audience, as always, will come to their verdict while watching the production. Some, undoubtedly, will admire Antigone but some (even if they are an absolute minority) will not approve of her stance.
Her sister Ismene pleads with Antigone not to leave her. King Creon does not want to execute his defiant niece. The people of Thebes (chorus) are inconsolable, yet she goes and does her deed. Her duty to her deceased brother seems to completely overshadow her feelings and loyalties towards those who are still alive. Is she attracted to death? Is she driven by blind self-destruction? Why is she not at all considering the consequences of her words and actions on those who surround her? What about her fiancée? His broken heart; never fulfilled expectations of happy marriage? Is Antigone selfish? Is Hamlet? Was Joan of Ark?
Wilfulness and an unbending strive towards what they believe in unites all three characters. Their circumstances and goals are different, but all three believe in high, almost unreachable, morality and a wish for justice to be done. As a result, although blood is spilled, those left behind are desperately unhappy. A shadow is cast over entire the city state of Thebes/ Kingdom of Denmark/Kingdom of France... In all honesty, I am ever so slightly afraid of Antigone. People like her, however, will always be with us and throughout the ages will challenge authority. And authority has to be challenged, big moral questions asked, or else there will be no development, no evolution of human mind. So, thank you, insanely bold young woman in a Greek tunic! And no matter what you will be wearing when mankind meets you next—feminine draped cloth or extremely functional space suit—please don't ever leave us!
The cast: Sophie Steel, Daniel Osgood, Louise McConnell, Charles Church, Murray Simon, Tristan Hyde, Blake Scott, Hilary Burns, Karlina Grace, Linda Large.
Special thanks to Dominic Danson for his contribution during the rehearsal process.
Written by Sophocles
Translated by Dr Johann W Ernst
Adapted by Peter & Barbara Bridgmont
Directed by Dimitry Devdariani