‘Antigone’: A Modern Spin on Timeless Struggles

After performances of Theatre Arts’ production of Antigone, the audience was torn on whether to laugh at the play’s hilarious banter or cry because of its tragic elements of death and sorrow.

“That’s just the way the play is,” says director Kimberly LaCroix ’08. “You might weep the entire way home, but it’s also going to be way funnier than you think.”

Antigone was written by Sophocles in 500 B.C. and follows the story of Oedipus Rex’s daughter, Antigone, in her pursuit to honor her brother’s death by giving him a proper burial. Choosing to do so amidst turmoil puts both her life and her uncle’s kingdom at risk.

From its original ancient Greek setting, to a 1944 version written in French during the Nazi occupation of Paris, to its English translation in 2002, Antigone’s script has undergone countless changes—but the struggles it addresses are equally relevant today.

“It’s clear that this story is asking questions that we’ve been asking since before Jesus walked the earth, and we’re still asking them thousands of years later,” says LaCroix, referring to the themes of morality, mortality and conflict.

“There’s a reason why a story endures for so long,” says Professor of Theatre Arts Norm Jones, who plays the role of King Creon. “The universal challenges, experiences and choices that the characters are faced with—from 500 B.C. to 1944 up until now—they’re all the same.”

Between costumes, set design and the modern script, the production was far different from what audiences might have expected of an ancient story. The set featured lasting elements such as marble, stone, moss and wood, and among the costumes you’ll see combination of Grecian sandals and Adidas sneakers. At one point, Creon comments on “fast cars and night clubs.”

“We wanted to make aspects of the show modern, but also play homage to where the story is coming from,” says LaCroix.

The show consisted of eight students, and the play’s production staff comprised of several alumni including Lauren Snyder ’19 (set designer), Edward Lindem ’19 (lighting designer), Jessica Richmond ’16 (technical director/production manager) and Molly Sidell ’17 (scenic painter). The cast and crew were made up almost entirely of women, which LaCroix says is crucial. “We’re doing students a disservice if they’re not seeing women in leadership,” she says.

LaCroix was the first alumna to direct a mainstage production in close to two decades. “It feels like such an opportunity, and I’m honored to be directing the show,” she said. “So many alums and students put in hours to make everything look like it does, and I believe that what we’re doing is relevant to this community.”

The Theatre Arts Department’s next production is Babette’s Feast, directed by Jeff Miller, running November 1–9.

By Ellian Chalfant ’22, communication arts and Spanish