“Antigone,” the story of a most compelling heroine, is currently in repertory at A Noise Within (ANW).
“Antigone” was first created by Sophocles in 430 B.C., and was later the inspiration for Jean Anouilh’s 1944 French play by the same title. The production at ANW is a translation and adaptation of the latter by ANW’s Resident Artist Robertson Dean, who also directed it.
The story takes place in the ruined Royal Palace of Thebes, towards the end of a brutal civil war. Creon is King, and he decrees that the body of his enemy Polynices is not to be buried; instead, it must be left out to rot for all to see. But Polynices is Antigone’s brother, and she fervently believes that he deserves proper burial, even if it will bring her death.
At ANW, a refreshingly diverse cast takes care of the action, with several of the actors in debut with the company. Of special mention are Inger Tudor, as “Chorus,” who explains to the audience what they are about to see with a strong voice and clear delivery; Eric Curtis Johnson looks and sounds regal as the King; and Emily James exudes every minute of Hellenic pride in what is meant to be a physically unremarkable 20-year-old Antigone.
The stage and costumes were designed to recall “both the modern world and Ancient Greece,” says the director, so on stage rest large broken Doric columns and thrown around them the belongings of the residents of the old palace, while the characters’ outfits and uniforms evoke the 20th century.
The play is interesting and thought-provoking, forcing the audience to consider whether there is more value in Antigone’s sense of duty and honor, or in the King’s pragmatism. With an appealing dialogue about happiness, it questions how much the truth must be compromised before a person can be happy.
“Antigone” is 90-minutes-long with no intermission. It will perform on selected dates until Nov. 20. Click here for ANW’s calendar. Tickets are $44. A Noise Within is located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd in Pasadena, 91107.
Emily James (Antigone) and Kyla Garcia (Ismene). © Photo by Craig Schwartz