Arts & Entertainment

Richland High digs to roots of drama in 'Antigone'

Nothing like a good Greek tragedy to liven up an evening, eh?

Well, the Richland High drama department has just what you're looking for when Antigone opens May 20 in the school's auditorium.

Antigone is a seriously tragic story written during tragic times by the playwright Sophocles in the middle of the fifth century B.C.

As the story goes, Antigone is the female offspring from Oedipus and his incestuous relationship with his mother.

After her father dies, she defies her uncle, Kreon, the new king of Thebes, and gives her brother Polyneices a decent burial, even though he was branded a traitor of Thebes.

In retaliation, Kreon condemns her to be buried alive in a cave. The king is forewarned by a prophet that the punishment is too severe but ignores the warning.

The king eventually decides to free Antigone, who is engaged to marry his son, from her prison but discovers too late that she has hanged herself in the cave.

When his son, Haimon, learns of her death, he becomes enraged and tries to kill his father but ends up killing himself. Once Kreon's wife learns of her son's death, she too takes her own life.

So what's the lesson in all this tragedy?

"I chose this play because I thought it would be a great learning experience for both the actors and the audience to experience what theater was like back in ancient Greece," said Ellicia Elliott, the director.

"I love this story. It's one of the first plays ever recorded where the central character is a strong female who stands up for what she believes in."

Elliott's cast of student actors includes Cassie Bender as Antigone; Emily Shick as Ismene; James Bath as Kreon; Alan Hayden Boesen as Haimon; Edward Jaffe as Tiresias the prophet; Corrin Bogenreif as Eurydice; Hannah Grimmett as Sentry; Rachelle Wencel as Messenger; Lexy Ott as Koryphaios; with a chorus of Matt Hart, Danielle North, Taylor Passey, Amethyst Parsons and Grayon Stamps.

There are many versions, translations and adaptations of the story of Antigone. Elliott said her production will be performed in the style of Greek theater, with the actors in masks and wearing costumes that reflect the ancient Greek era.

"Though there are many versions, translations, adaptations (that) have been created, we are sticking to the original script, which was translated by an English poet, so it's very accurate to Sophocles' original script," she said.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. May 20-22 with a matinee at 2 p.m. May 22. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors. Tickets are at the door. The play is not for children.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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