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Play Shows Woman Standing Up for Beliefs

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A 20th-century version of the classic Greek drama Antigone – with its themes of love and loyalty, hatred and revenge – will headline the next Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) theater production, March 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m., in the MainStage Theater in University Commons.

“Antigone struggles with questions about humankind’s relationship to God, but in Antigone’s case, the focus is the whole ‘render unto Caesar’ discussion about where we place our greatest trust and allegiance, between the state and the Creator,” said Tom Joyner, director and assistant professor of theater.

“Near the end of the play, there’s a reference to other ‘Antigones’ over the millennia – women who have stood up against the state and rigid authority on behalf of higher principles. I trust an EMU audience will draw connections between Antigone’s journey and those of Aung San Suu Kyi and Leymah Gbowee.”

Leah Ott, who plays the character Antigone, says she appreciates how her character matures through the play.

“What I find unique about this play is Antigone is most likely still a teenager,” said Ott. “She is learning what love is like and she is becoming a woman in a world of men. She stands up for what she believes is truth, and boldly faces death to defend what is right.”

About the play

The play takes place following the battle for Thèbes in which Antigone’s two brothers have killed each other vying for the throne. The king has proclaimed that the younger brother, Polynices, must be left unburied while Antigone’s elder brother Etéocles should be given full burial rights. Antigone chooses to defy the king, Créon, by burying Polynices – with her bare hands – and is brought before Créon for judgment. The king attempts to excuse the offense, perhaps because Antigone is engaged to his son, but Antigone refuses to accept his pardon.

What ensues is a passionate dialogue concerning the nature of power, morality, fate and free will. Antigone’s actions eventually force the king’s hand, and the kingdom is rocked by yet more royal deaths.

Antigone is a modern adaption by Jean Anouilh of the original tragedy written by Sophocles, translated by Louis Gallantiere.

The adaption by Anouilh was first performed in Paris during the Nazi occupation with several parallels to the French Resistance and the war in France.

Tickets, more information

Reserved tickets are $10 for adults ($12 at the door) and $8 for seniors and non-EMU students ($10 at the door).

Tickets are available through EMU’s box office at 540-432-4582 or emu.edu/boxoffice. Group rates are available.

Information regarding age-appropriateness for EMU events is available through the theater office at 540-432-4360 or theater@emu.edu.

Cast and supporting members

Shannon Dove, staff member

Elisha Keener, a first-year student from Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal High School

Coryn LaVeist, a first-year student from Norfolk, Va./Kings Fork High School

Jenna Longenecker, a junior from Lancaster, Pa./Conestoga Valley High School

Tulia MacDicken, a first-year student from Centreville, Va./Westfield High School

Erica Maholmes, a first-year student from Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby High School

Leah Ott, a senior from Harpers Ferry, WVa./Jefferson High School

Kayla Sasser, a senior from Maurertown, Va./Strasburg High School

Holly Solomon, a sophomore from Harleysville, Pa./Christopher Dock High School

Ariel Vogel, a first-year student at Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg, Va.

Phil Yoder, a first-year student from Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite High School

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