Kenan Theatre Company's 'Antigonick' gives an old story a modern spin

The Kenan Theatre Company's production of "Antigonick" will be performed at the Center for Dramatic Arts Thursday through Monday. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Durham.

Kenan Theatre Company takes on a retelling of "Antigone" in the form of Anne Carson’s "Antigonick" this Thursday through Monday.

"Antigonick" is a modern translation of "Antigone," following the same basic plot. Carson’s version, however, differs from the original story. 

“It’s honestly a more surrealist approach to 'Antigone,'" first-year Sam Bible-Sullivan, who plays Haimon, said. "A lot of symbolism is involved, you don’t necessarily know what world this is taking place in … it’s weird, but in a really cool way.”

The language of "Antigonick" is also unique.

Senior Catherine Baird, who plays Guard and Messenger, said it's difficult to perform the play.

“The way it’s written, the language is super poetic, not at all how we talk. So it’s confusing to read and to understand, for us, the actors," she said. "So doing it in such a way that the audience will understand mostly everything is quite a challenge.”

First-year Elizabeth Durham, who plays Antigone, said the vision for the show was not a conventional one.

“There are lots of moments that you may not understand at first, that you may have to think about for a little bit," Durham said. "There are some moments that you may never understand."

Baird said "Antigonick" will be unlike anything people have ever seen. 

“It’s funny at times — goofy — but it also has a lot of themes that resonate in today’s world,” Baird said. “It’s such an old story, but a lot of the topics it brings up are things that are still happening today.”

Sullivan agreed that "Antigonick" brings the centuries old story into the 21st century. 

“It’s really topical in its own way,” Sullivan said. “We’ve crafted it to be a commentary on abuse of power and what happens when a really egotistical person gets into office … we are commenting with this piece on the world we’re living in.”

The actors created a current events collage wall as part of their set, which features newspaper clippings and pictures of presidents, among other things, that relate to the message "Antigonick" is trying to send.

By incorporating themes from today’s society, "Antigonick" promises to be an entertaining new take on a classic story. 

“It’s short, it’s crazy and no one’s going to be bored,” Durham said. “There are a lot of things that we’ve found are just undeniable connections that we’ve been facing since the play was written.”

Sullivan said it could almost be thought of as “activist theatre.”

“Our goal is to change people," he said. "Expand your mind and grow a little bit.”

Antigonick runs from Oct. 12 to Oct. 16 at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for students and free for dramatic arts majors.


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