Ancient tragedy recast as a rave
Playwright Susanna Fournier and director Christine Brubaker have found a way to connect Sophocles’ 2,500-year-old play Antigone with a modern audience.
They are turning the University’s Reeve Theatre into a warehouse and staging the play as part of a rave.
If you venture out to the Reeve Theatre from Oct. 12-20, you can choose to sit on the floor or on the risers. There are also some tires and chairs. You could bring your own cushion because anything goes with Antigone Lives*.
“There are strobe effects, gunshots, strong language, fog and loud music and the bar is open before and after the 60-minute performance,” says Brubaker who, in addition to directing this Canadian workshop premiere of Fournier’s Antigone Lives*, is the new artistic director of the University ’s School of Creative and Performing Arts.
“The bones of Sophocles’ play remain the same, but how it’s told is what makes Antigone Lives* so unique and groundbreaking.”
In the story, Antigone’s brothers’ Eteocles and Polyneices were both killed in a civil war. Creon, the new king, proclaims Eteocles a hero and promises he will be given a royal burial whereas Polyneices is considered a traitor and will be denied a proper burial.
Antigone must find a way to subvert Creon’s decrees and his newfound power.
“The play is situated in a nonidentifiable time and place,” says Brubaker, explaining “it’s a capitalist society whose ideals are crumbling from the inside. There is a population crisis and outside the city are refugees who are impoverished and at the mercy of the war still raging.
“There is so much in Susanna’s play that speaks to our generation and especially to a university community … I chose it, for among other reasons, because its characters are all youthful. It makes it an ideal fit for our student actors.”
The university cast includes Cassie Doane as Antigone and Marisa Roggeveen, Zack McKendrick, Liam Whitley, Precious Akpoguma, Abigale Hogg, Vita Fertel, Oliver Bailey, Kathleen Ballangan and Brittany Bryan in the supporting cast.
Brubaker says the only other production of Antigone Lives* was in Germany.
“The play is looking at a production in Toronto in 18 months or so that will be the official Canadian and English-language premiere of the play so we feel very grateful Susanna allowed us to do this production of it.”