Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Theatre Review

Antigone At Epidaurus
By Jamie Cohen

Antigone is a story familiar to nearly everyone. It is infamous in its telling of fate that leads to a premature death. The original author of the play, Sophocles, is famous for plays that reflect on society and the way they form, creating scenes in which we learn human emotion, and the thought processes that we go through as freethinking people. It is with Lefteris Vogiatzis’ direction alongside the lines of Sophocles that new imagery is created in this historic piece of literature.

As a whole, the cast works unevenly with the poetry of the play, which was performed this summer in Athens, Greece at the Athens Epidaurus festival. The language of Antigone is one to be delivered with constant compassion and sincerity. And while the poetry of the words flow from the tongues of some, in a few of the actors the words tend to be more bitten then flown. While many can agree that Sophocles’ use of language can be quite difficult at times, Chloe Obolensky (the set designer) used all of her power to create matching imagery to the spellbinding words of Antigone.

The most powerful element to the set was the lighting, which shadowed the emotion of the actors and highlighted emotional high points. It was a beautiful way to keep the audience’s mind focused on the intensity of the play. Since the play was performed the way it was written, in Greek, the dramatic lighting and changes kept those who didn’t speak Greek tied in and interested in the performance. The Greek setting was a wonderful way to tie in a modern perspective to a historically important play.

While I am unsure if this was Vogiatzis and Obolensky’s intent, but the set separated the players on stage keeping your concentration where it was necessary. Ogiatzis truly found the important moments of Sophocles’ play and spotlighted them so specifically that the play could have been something fresh from a new interpretive theatre in the theatre industry. If the modern type setting doesn’t keep you interested, the actors who have portrayed the legendary roles will.

Actress Amalia Moutousi clearly captured the definition of Antigone. While eyes are the window to one’s soul, the soul of Antigone was captured in her style and grace, she so perfectly captured the sullen, withdrawn yet rough personality of Antigone. The intensity that she brings forth in the scene of fighting between Antigone and Creon shows us how tragic her character’s fate is. While directors can offer motivation, it is truly a talented actor that brings insight to a character’s flaws, and it is Moutousi that forces us to ask the important questions, and wonder the truth of this girl.

While Antigone seemed true to form, it is Creon that left me curious. Actor Lefteris Vogiatzis who stars as Creon, and the director understand the power and fury that rages behind Creon. We hear that in his powerful voice and body movement. In this aspect, Vogiatzis exceeded the role of Creon. Whether it was his choice as an actor I am still unsure, but it is Creon’s naiveté that I have always believed fueled the fire in him. The way that Vogiatzis interprets him, is to be hot headed, which is an understandable point of view, but I appreciate the sadness to naiveté in a character, then the quick to the fight with no back story approach that Vogiatzis took.

Overall when analyzed, the play had its high and low moments. There is no denying the powerful message that has been told for centuries, the way that fate can and will play a large part in life. It is the setting presented at Epidaurus that creates the imagery that is spun for us that we can see the ironic mockery of fate, and how when mixed with the boundaries that society sets for us that our emotions are no challenge for either of them.

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