When you think of Greek tragedy, what comes to mind? The rhythmic beat of an African drum? Washington Christian Academy's production of "Antigone" brought a special flavor to an ancient story.
In the tragic tale of Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus is sentenced to death for burying her brother in defiance of the king's edict. The story revolves around King Creon's attitude toward his defiant niece and then his sorrow at the death of both his niece and his son, an engaged couple bound by justice and truth.
Opening the play with a whirl of self-designed stage combat, Eteocles and Polynices (James and Nathaniel Cavin), sons of Oedipus, illustrated the violent fight for kingship that sparked the horrific events that followed. Erica Gropp (Antigone) used dramatic vocal variation to denote her sorrow at the passing of her father and brothers and the betrayal of her uncle, Creon, for not giving her brother, Polynices, a true burial. She interacted well with Brooke Morgereth (Ismene), her sister in the play, sharing their different approaches to grief. Morgereth also was a constantly pained presence, showing without reserve all of her agony at the year's atrocious events.
Playing Haemon, the fiance of Antigone and Creon's son, Edward de los Reyes consistently used the tone of his voice, body movements and facial expressions to convey his violent grief at Antigone's impending death as well as the duty he felt as a loving son. In one scene, Haemon lay on the ground, dead, for several minutes. He was a very convincing corpse, lying still in a tremendous act of self-control while being carried and shaken by grief-stricken townspeople and his father.
The group of dancers who appeared between action scenes served to highlight the characters' emotions, specifically Antigone's passionate grief at the horrors of her life. They were led by Katy Turner, the inner representation of Antigone, who was as visibly calm as a rigid Greek mask. The turbulent movements of the dancers contrasted vividly with the formal words of the Chorus and other characters on stage.
Through the use of charisma and well-practiced movements, Washington Christian Academy's production of "Antigone" brought the talent of these young actors to a story as old as wine.
Walt Whitman High School
How often does one get to see a traditional Greek play performed as it would have been 2000 years ago? Welcome to "Antigone," a tragedy written by Sophocles in 442 B.C. The King's Players of Washington Christian Academy took on the daunting task of re-creating this dusty play and bringing it back in full color to present day.
Eteocles and Polynices, the sons of Oedipus, are dead, slain in battle by each other's hands. Eteocles, fighter for Thebes, is buried with a hero's honor, but Polynices, who fell while fighting for the invading army of Argos, lies rotting in the sun by King Creon's decree. Antigone, sister of the two warriors, buries Polynices against Creon's orders in an act of civil disobedience. She gets caught and appears sure to be put to death by the irate Creon for her act of treason.
Imagine putting one's future daughter-in-law to death. Such was the tension between Creon (Trevor Morse) and Antigone (Erica Gropp). Gropp did well portraying Antigone's rebellious nature, and Morse conveyed his emotion through subtle actions with his staff and a few emphasized words.
Rob Dean showed a fine ability to lighten the tension with some comedy in his role as the sentry. Principal dancer Katy Turner and her ensemble interpreted and captured the quintessence of Antigone's grief. Allison Dixon, the Chorus leader, and Amy Austin, a Chorus soloist, provided heartfelt reactions to the scene unfolding before them. Edward de los Reyes, as Haemon, Creon's son and Antigone's fiance, had real tears in his eyes as he grit his teeth and accepted his father's authority while entreating him to spare Antigone.
At the start of the play, an unwavering beat from live drummers accompanied an epic battle scene staged by James and Nathaniel Cavin.
Though at times the energy of the production waned, the cast kept the show moving along nicely, and the show ended well.
Washington Christian's King's Players succeeded in bringing new color, new music, new lessons and a new view on a timeless classic to the high school stage.
Lee High School