The 42nd Annual Classical Greek Theater Festival
In a time of protests and the fall of tyrants Sophocles’ Antigone seems both timely and timeless. At its root are the basic conflicts between individual and state, human and divine law, logic and passion, conflicts between the genders and generations. The play first and foremost tells the tale of a young woman whose actions are motivated by family, concern for the unwritten law of the gods and the duty to bury her dead brother, leading directly to her trial and death. But the play also focuses on the tragic downfall of Creon whose single-minded devotion to the state results in the loss of both wife and son. A plot pattern of divine punishment involving Creon emerges from Antigone’s self-sacrifice. The double plot action is counter-pointed by one of Sophocles’ most rich, dense and lyrical choruses, whose famous “Ode to Man” seems to encapsulate 5th century Athens with all its tensions. This play fascinates philosophers for its interplay of ideas, fascinates the cultural historians for its look at 5th century Athens, and fascinates the modern playgoer for its fast-paced plot, complex and contradictory characters, and almost inevitable movement toward tragic loss and death.