The upcoming student production of Sophocles’ “Antigone,” a collaborative effort between students and faculty, commits to highlighting the nuances of the Greek tragedy for a modern audience. UCCS’ Theatre Company will run “Antigone” Nov. 3 through Nov. 12.
The ancient Greek Play centers on themes of people getting stuck in their individual ideologies. Antigone, a Greek Princess and daughter of tragic King Oedipus, wants to fs of the gods by burying her brother, Polynices, who was killed in battle. The new king Creon has said that the body must be left alone. Ultimately, the two refuse to see each other’s sides and tragedy ensues.
“Antigone” has been a staple in the classical canon for thousands of years, but its themes, according to the play’s cast members, still resonate heavily. Cast member Lawrence Medina, who is a senior theater major, is one of the cast members playing Creon and says working in the chorus highlights some of the universal themes in the show.
“It looks at how the best intentions by those in power can lead to corruption or disastrous effects, and the importance of learning how to compromise and forgive, particularly when it comes to things you can’t understand,” Medina said.
In order to apply the classic text to a current audience, the team has worked together to form a more cohesive structure that lends itself to modern discussions.
“It would be good to promote that this is a devised work, meaning it will not be done in a traditional fashion,” Medina said. “Certain changes in approach and some liberties with lines have been taken in an effort to show how this play remains applicable to what is happening now.”
While “Antigone” has been a part of classical literature and theater productions from its infancy, this version of the show came together with a lot of creative freedom. Associate professor and director of “Antigone” Birgitta De Pree wants to bring what she witnessed in her classes to the stage.
“I’ve always assigned [Antigone] in my theater acting class and always loved what students came up with. How they took this text that’s over 2,000 years old and made it relevant and broader,” De Pree said.
One way UCCS’ production will give the audience context is through backstory. Within the first half of the play, according to De Pree, there will be an invocation of shadow puppetry to introduce the audience to the story of Oedipus, adding the framing of “Antigone.”
“I felt that we needed to give a context to our audience, to our modern audience, so that they could so they could sort of fall into the story more deeply,” De Pree said.
The UCCS Theatre Company worked to include a variety of perspectives when forming this version of “Antigone.” According to De Pree, the cast and crew have consulted with five different translations to format this version of the show, which includes a variety of choregraphed movements, costumes and production techniques.
“I was intrigued to not do [the production] as a hierarchy … but I really opened the space for everyone to show their ideas and to contribute to creating this story together,” De Pree said.
One of the ways in which the cast and crew of “Antigone” is uniquely adapting the play is through input from the students involved in the production.
Josh White, a junior theater major who will play one of Creon’s Sentries and Tiresias, a 175
“There are a lot of things in the show that have come from us, with the guidance that Birgitta has given us,” White said. “I think that’s really important for students to see, especially students coming to see that the faculty and students are not two completely different species.”
White made clear that the 75
“[Antigone] starts out at 100 and doesn’t ever go below that…that in of itself is a reason you should come see the show,” White said.
“Antigone” opens on Nov. 3 in the Osborne Theater at the ENT Center. Tickets can be purchased through the box office online or over the phone by calling 719-255-8181. Students can attend the show for free by presenting their ID number when they purchase tickets.
Cast members Weston Buhr and Michaela Wojcik rehearse Antigone. Photo by Lillian Davis.