What is the recipe for a good family drama these days? Is it secrets? Affairs? Backstabbing? What about two suicides, two brothers that fight each other to the death, an evil uncle who is now king and a fiancé that is your first cousin?
If you think this is a plot line for Desperate Housewives, think again. It is in fact Eastern Mennonite University’s spring theater production, “Antigone.”
Antigone starts out with soothing instrumental music to set a very somber tone, foreshadowing what is to come. The storytelling is very interesting. Just like the glory days of theater or ancient times, the audience is addressed by a Greek chorus comprised of First-Years Elisha Keener, Coryn LaVeist, Tulia MacDicken, Erica Maholmes, Holly Solomon, Phil J. Yoder, Junior Jenna Longenecker, and Senior Kayla Sasser.
During the opening, the audience is informed of the drama that is about to take place. The chorus tells the audience that Antigone, who is portrayed by Leah Ott, Senior, will die.
The show is set in Thebes where the chorus has told of the battle between Antigone’s brothers Polynices and Eteocles. The brothers launch Thebes into a civil war, fighting for the control of the kingdom, but instead kill one another on the battlefield.
Creon, uncle of Antigone and the dead brothers, is played by Shannon Dove, Theater Electrician. He is now the king. Creon has decreed that Polynices must be left unburied, rotting away under the sun. If anyone tries to bury Polynices, they will pay the ultimate price: death. Antigone ultimately defies the most powerful man in the kingdom and tries to give her brother a proper burial: first with a shovel, then using nothing but her bare hands.
During the show, different still images are projected on the backdrop to bring a bit of modernism into this age-old play. The theme of women taking a stand for what they believe is right is very clear throughout the play, leaving audience members to make connections between real-life protesters and Antigone.
Overall, the show was entertaining. Ott does a fantastic job as Antigone. The same can be said about Dove; both actors are the feature of the show. Their intense dialogue consumes a majority of the play.
An honorable mention should go out to Yoder who portrays the guardsmen who arrests Antigone. He is wonderful and provided much needed comic relief at appropriate moments.
The one fault I had with the show had nothing to do with the actors or crew, but with the lack of support from fellow students and faculty.
As EMU clearly states on its website and many of its admission materials, there is a special sense of community at EMU; what makes that community so special is the support that we can give to one another.
I encourage you rjeto support your fellow EMU community members. Just as with any sports team, the folks that work to bring a show together endure hard work on and off the stage to ensure excellence. Antigone runs March 29, 30, and 31 at 7:30 p.m.