On Oct. 1, Messiah’s Theatre Department began its fall 2020 Season with “Antigone.”
Senior musical theatre major Katie Phykitt and theatre professor Dan Inouye direct this classic Greek tragedy. Though originally written by Sophocles in 441 B.C., the cast and crew manage to breathe a modern relevance into the aged words.
Opening to a chorus of “no justice, no peace,” the stage, bordered by a pilared office, stands still against the chaotic background of sound, empty except for two bodies outlined in chalk on the ground.
Enter Antigone and Ismene, sisters played by Gabrielle Johnson and Jordan Zercher, respectively, arguing about the newest law by King Creon, portrayed by Joshua Murray. They have been forbidden to offer a proper burial for their brother, who was considered a disgrace, under threat of death.
A faithful follower of the divine laws, Antigone defies this order, burying her brother and incurring the wrath of Creon. Believing in the power of law and order, Creon demands retribution for Antigone’s rebellion – and those connected with what he views as anarchy. Will law prevail over justice? Is it possible to make corrections after taking wrongful actions? In the end, how many bodies will join the outlines on the floor? For answers, you’ll have to watch the show.
Theatre usually finds its use as an escape from the woes of the world, but this play allows audiences to enter another world that mirrors their own.
Throughout the play, themes about the law and justice abound. When does anarchy begin: when the people break the law, or when the law breaks the people? Family loyalty, feminism and the place of faith also add to the conversation.
All of these themes find immediate relevance in today’s society.
With the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this summer, along with the upcoming election, now is the time and the place to talk about these issues.
The cast finds the perfect way to blend modern issues and classical storyline together in the theatrical format “Antigone” offers.
Johnson deftly portrays an unwavering princess, one unafraid of standing up against injustice, no matter the cost. Playing the role of King Creon as a modern politician, Murray stands at the opposite end; similarly stubborn, but blind to the effects of his actions. The Greek chorus behind them mingles with the voices of protestors around the country. Throughout the performance, audiences can feel the passion and enthusiasm the actors exude – even through a screen.
Messiah is privileged to have the ability to still perform theatre productions during this time; taking necessary safety measures has become an art form of its own. The crew utilized masks and the live streaming capabilities, creating a socially distanced theatre that still engages audiences.
From Oct. 2-3 and 5-7, tune in at 8 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Oct. 4 to view “Antigone,” live streamed free of charge.