By Mary Boyle
I love going to the theater. For hundreds of years, this form of storytelling; of players connecting with audiences, has endured. Hands down, my favorite theater company to watch is the First Stage Young Company, the advanced, college-level actor training program at First Stage Theater Academy for high school students. I especially like it when they perform theater that has stood the test of time, such as Shakespeare or, in this case, an ancient Greek tale: Antigone.
The story of Antigone comes from one of the greatest ancient playwrights, Sophocles, who wrote over one hundred plays during the Golden Age of Athens; the most famous being known as the Theban Plays, which begin with the story of Oedipus (made famous by Sigmund Freud).
Antigone is one of the four children of Oedipus, and the story takes place after his death. Antigone's Uncle, Creon, has become King of Thebes after Antigone's two brothers, Polynices and Eteocles, have started a civil war and killed each other in battle. To set an example, Creon has ordered that Polynices will not have a proper burial, but will be left to rot. Antigone defies Creon and buries her brother, knowing that it will surely cost her her life.
The modern version of Antigone was written in 1942 by French playwright, Jean Anouilh, during the Nazi occupation of France, and is his most produced work. Anouilh was inspired by a young man who, in solitary protest, fired into a group of French collaborationists (Frenchmen who chose to fight for the Germans instead of being sent to German labor camps). Anouilh thought the act caught the essence of a tragedy: heroic. lacking in sound reason, and pointless. His version of Antigone was a barely disguised political attack, which was immediately censored by the Nazis, and didn't make its debut until two years later.
The Young Company's production, adapted by Lewis Galantiere and Directed by Joshua Pohja, brings the character and morality of both Antigone (Josie Trettin) and Creon (Lawson Mitchell) into question, leaving the audience to wonder who the real hero of the story is, if there is one at all. This is a must-see for fans of Greek mythology and classic theater, who will enjoy this thought-provoking retelling of an ancient tragedy.
This performance is recommended for audience members ages 13 and up.
Antigone opens on Friday, April 8th at 7 p.m. at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (325 W Walnut St, Milwaukee, WI 53212), and runs through April 17th. Tickets are just $14, and can be purchased on the First Stage Website: www.firststage.org, or by calling (414) 267-2961.
First Stage has offered a special promotion: Purchase two tickets to either ELLA ENCHANTED (ages 6 & up) April 1 – May 1, or ANTIGONE (ages 13 & up) April 8 – 17, for just $20 per pair of tickets. Order by phone only at (414) 267-2961. Mention code "GIRLPOWER" when you call.
*This offer is not valid on previously purchased tickets. Must be ordered by phone at least 48 hours in advance of the first performance. Valid for select seats and select performances only. Subject to availability.