Plymouth State University students directed by adjunct theatre faculty member Heather Hamilton, will present Sophocles’ classic tragedy Antigone, March 2 – 5 at the Silver Center for the Arts.
The plot of Antigone portrays the story of conflict and tragedy arising from King Creon’s decree that Polynices, who fought against him, is a traitor and may not be buried. Antigone defies the order not to give her brother proper rites of burial saying, “Gladly will I meet death in my sacred duty to the dead. Longer time have I to spend with them than with those who live upon the earth. Seek not to argue with me; nothing so terrible can come to me but that an honored death remains.”
Both Antigone and Creon are shackled by their pride, making it impossible for either to back down once they have taken a stand—both championing what is right, but defining “right” through different sets of values.
Hamilton says, “Great wrongs had been done to Thebes and the city is ravaged; the people dead, dying or exhausted. Creon’s reaction to these horrors is to become ethically and ideologically rigid, forcing the vast and complicated issues of his world into claustrophobically small definitions of right and wrong.” Antigone’s rebellion is especially threatening because it upsets gender roles and hierarchy.
“ The issue of leadership in times of crisis in Antigone is most interesting to me. It is not Creon who is the real danger, for he is just one man. The real danger is the fear and complacency of the people who allowed a flawed king to have power over their consciences,” Hamilton says.
The cast includes theatre arts majors Lina Vong a senior from Newport as Antigone; Isaac Mishkit, a senior from Bow as Haimon and Anneliese Friend, a junior from Southbury, Conn. as Ismene. Ethan Murphy, a junior criminal justice major from Laconia portrays Creone. Additional players are theatre arts majors Amanda Drapcho of Greenland as Eurydice, Mimi Gindoff from France as Choryphaeus, Holly McCarthy of Marstons Mills, Mass. as the Watchman and Bill Viau of Salem as Teiresias.
Hamilton, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Plymouth State, is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She concludes, “Sophocles wrote Antigone to challenge his fellow Athenians to consider their commitment to their own freedom, to warn them of the dangers of complacency, and to determine their degree of dedication to democracy. Even across the expanse of time, we can recognize the issues depicted here as if they were our own.”
Performance times are March 2 – 4 at 8 p.m., with matinees March 4 at 2 p.m. and March 5 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10-12 at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-ARTS.