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Antigone: Emerald Ridge Theater Brings Greek Tragedy to Life

Annie Volkman, Perspectives editor

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Every year, the theatre department puts on multiple performances, this year’s fall play being “Antigone,” by the famous playwright, Sophocles, to begin this year of upcoming plays.

The types of plays chosen to perform throughout each school year follow a three year pattern; comedy, classic, and then serious. This year, the pattern falls on having to choose a classical play, hence why “Antigone” was chosen.  However, there are aspects that make this play stand out against other famous, classical pieces. Christopher Tavern, Emerald Ridge Theatre Teacher chose “Antigone,” due to its modern day feel, plus he wanted to change it up, due to the large amount of classical Shakespeare pieces the Emerald Ridge Theatre has performed. He wanted to assure that classical didn’t automatically mean it had to be Shakespeare.

“Greek theatre is so different from what a modern audience expects,” Tavern said, “Antigone had the most to say to a modern audience.”

The famous Greek piece, “Antigone” is the third play in the Oedipus trilogy. That being said, it’s Antigone’s time to take action. She goes against a law that’s purposed by her uncle, Creon, the new King after Oedipus. The law purposed is inhumane, leading to Antigone rebelling against it. She sticks to what she believes is morally right, even though it’s extremely high risk. Her character stood out to Tavern because she rebels against the norm, yet realizes the danger her decision puts her in.

“She defies the law but accepts the consequences after that,” Tavern said.

“Antigone” has various events in the plot, and other parts of the production that make it unique, but the uniqueness of the play can make it a bit more challenging. This is the first Greek piece Tavern has directed, and considering that Greek theatre has its fair share of differences compared to other types of theatre,Tavern was faced with more challenges while directing “Antigone.” Since Greek plays are typically based off of the dialogue more so than the character’s actions, it is difficult to make sure that certain sections were interesting enough to be portrayed to an audience.

“Staging sections that don’t have action implied is challenging,” Tavern said, “to do something interesting, but not distracting.”

Not only is interpreting pieces to connect with an audience challenging, but there are plenty of other factors taken into consideration, just like any other play. Such as picking a costume design that fits the style of the play, but doesn’t look too over the top.

“I decided to go with a semi-traditional Greek look,” Tavern said.

The costume design ties right into the set design, which is the other crucial part when it comes to the visual aspect of putting on a successful performance. The set must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but functional in a way where the actors can portray their movements to the audience.

“I was concerned about the set being functional for the actors,” Tavern said.

The amount of ideas, and the amount of effort put into the play doesn’t stop there. There are multiple translations of the Greek piece, so determining which translation was best was only the beginning of the production process.

“I read eight different versions of “Antigone” when deciding which one to use,” Tavern said.

Although, coming up with design ideas, stage directions, and making decisions on what translation to use, were only a few of multiple aspects that include all of the hard work put into the “Antigone” production. Every aspect of the theatre plays a crucial role in making each play successful. One of the main parts that ties everything together to make “Antigone” a successful, well done play is making sure everyone is included in doing what they’re supposed to do.

“It is most important that we all put in our all,” Quintin Cockrell, Actor for Chorus and Polynices said.

As long as everyone put in all of their effort, “Antigone” will have been an outstanding production, as well as making sure the final product left a mark on the audience. The final touch is the impact people feel after they watch the performance, which determines whether or not “Antigone” is a successful production.

“It’s all about connecting with the audience,” Tavern said, “The set could be beautiful, the costumes could be beautiful, but if the characters don’t relate to the audience, then it’s not a good show.”

The impact left on people when they watch the performance of “Antigone,” is the main thing that ties every ounce of effort, hard work, and devotion to the production that makes it a good one.

 

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Antigone: Emerald Ridge Theater Brings Greek Tragedy to Life