Directed by L. Robert Johnson
May 10-18, 2002
special engagement September 21, 2002
For the first showing of 2002, HSC delved into new territory literally and creatively with Antigone. For the company's first foray into Greek theater, L. Robert Johnson returned to direct this version of the classic tragedy by Sophocles with a translation furnished by William Blake Tyrell & Larry J. Bennett. The story follows the myth of the city of Thebes, marking the third chapter in the trilogy of Oedipus Rex. Famous for killing his father and marrying his mother Jocasta, Oedipus' descendents and extended family fight for control over the kingdom of Thebes. Known as the war of the "Seven Against Thebes", Oedipus two sons pit their armies against one another, ultimately, they themselves lock in mortal combat killing each other. Creon (Basil Meola), Jocasta's uncle, in an attempt to wipe away the stain of incest from the royal house of Thebes, assumes the throne and declares that the bodies of Oedipus' two sons should be left to rot, undeserving of final burial. He declares that if anyone disturbs the bodies that they themselves will be put to death.
Antigone (Heather Girardi) and Ismene (Elizabeth Sugarman), the daughters of Oedipus plan to defy Creon and give their brothers funeral rites. In a heated exchange, Antigone sends her sister away not wanting her to take the fall in case they should be caught. A group of Theban citizens acts as chorus and actors throughout the show, describing the actions that occur offstage. Interacting as Creon's court, the king is given a voice to expound on his position in trying to clean up the kingdom. Word arrives that the bodies have been buried and Antigone, who is betrothed to Creon's son Haemon (Paul Campbell), has been caught in the act. Haemon pleads with his father to reconsider the punishment and see the act for what it was. Creon, disgards his son and even has Ismene arrested. He punishes Antigone to be buried alive in the tomb of her family. Haemon unable to stay away from his beloved, goes to the tomb to be with her. Creon being called upon for mercy by the chorus and the old prophet Tiresisas (Zulie Mendoza) and effectively by the gods, decides to show mercy, but it is too late. Haemon arrives at the tomb where he finds that Antigone has killed herself. Creon sees his son cradling her body, goes to stop his son, but Haemon drives his own sword into him. Creon's despair is doubled when upon hearing of their son's death, his wife Eurydice (Francine Tychuaco) takes her own life.
Johnson took the play's many settings and distilled them all into a blackbox format that form Creon's court. Through, the action of the play, ancient commentaries on mercy, obligations to the dead and the common good resonate in today's world. The play also focuses on excessive pride and ego, through Creon. His own willfulness brought about his own downfall.
Above, Francine Tychuaco acts as a member of the play's chorus framing the play's action and history.
Above, a nervous tomb guard (David Law) tells the story of discovering the buried body of Oedipus' son before an angry Creon (Basil Meola) and not knowing how it happened.
A captured Antigone is brought before Creon, only to rebuke his accusations.
Left, An unrelenting Creon condemns Antigone to death, unmoved by the eloquent argument for mercy by his counselor Corypheus (Robert Handler). Right, Creon shares a rare parental moment with his son Haemon (Paul Campbell), who later disregards his commands concerning Antigone.
Above, Creon is warned by the mysterious prophet Teiresias (Zulie Mendoza) to change his command and spare Antigone, but he again is unmoved. Below, the result, Haemon kills himself after Antigone has also killed herself. Creon arrives too late to save either. His guard (Issac Platinsky, right) informs him that Eurydice his wife has killed herself in grief of hearing of Haemon's death.
The final scene of the show as Creon laments over his misfortunes.
To link to an on-line version of Antigone, click here.
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