Jacksonville State University’s Stone Center will play host to Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone” beginning today, November 14, 2013.
Directed by JSU’s Susan McCain, “Antigone” was a departmental choice, with most of the creative direction coming straight from the script. The audience sees the actors becoming the characters and then follow the journey those characters go on.
Written and first performed in the 1940s in Nazi-controlled Paris, Anouilh’s Antigone, protagonist and namesake for the show, is the headstrong daughter of Oedipus Rex (the protagonist in a Sophocles tragedy) who refuses to bow down to orders to deny her brother a burial given by her uncle and king, Creon.
This leads to heartbreak and sorrow as the audience follows the consequences of her actions and, in the true fashion of tragedy, the last main character standing is pitied as losing all that they held dear.
McCain, who dearly loves the show Antigone, said the main idea that could be derived by the audience is “what is at stake when we lose our youth and what they bring to us – youths challenge authority and ask why instead of just following tradition and orders. Young people and youth’s desire to make changes – for the better – is what we lose as a society and as a people when we continue to demand strict observance of regulations.”
In the show, Creon’s refusal to accept Antigone’s choice of standing up for what she believes is right leads to a total annihilation of all that she stands for. McCain says “that’s the real tragedy. The loss of youth and believing.”
Jen Landman, JSU drama student and stage manager for “Antigone”, says that “to be exposed to this story, to see it every day since the first rehearsal in October, it has shown me the importance of being outspoken and being true to your beliefs and values and standing up for other people.”
Landman believes that Anouilh chose to write and produce his show in order to motivate the Parisians living in a Nazi-controlled city to stand up for what they believe is right, despite the consequences.
Shawwna Conti, a double major at JSU and the actor for Antigone, agreed that despite problems of getting into the character of Antigone, she admires Antigone for not being someone who goes back on what she says. Antigone’s often loud and dramatic outbursts in the name of truth and faith are something that most who will see Conti’s performance will be able to relate to.
DeEric Williams, Communications major and actor for Creon, said of his character: “no matter what, there will always be a necessary evil in life.” He was happy to fulfill that role in JSU’s production of Antigone. The enthusiasm and spirit he brings to the role of Creon is astounding to see and should not be missed.
With “Antigone,” there is an applicable meaning that can be found within the show that will appeal to all who watch it ,and, because of that timelessness, the show will no doubt go on to be produced again and again.