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The Daily Tar Heel

Review: Antigone comes to Memorial Hall

Picture this: It’s Friday night, dark outside. The smell of waffles mixes with the cool night air. 

You walk into a vast auditorium and find your seat in the outer edges of the balcony, behind the softly whirling light projector. 

It’s dark, and hard to see, and crowded. A woman walks on stage, and you realize she is a famous actress. You’re in the same room with her, if only for an hour or two. 

Even though you’re tired, and sick, and just want to go to sleep, you know that you’re experiencing something unique, something that may never happen to you again. 

So you watch, and listen, and enjoy, and when it is over, you walk back to your dorm room with the full realization that you have experienced something of art in its purest form.

Yep, I went to see Antigone at Memorial Hall last Friday night. In all honesty, I went because it was required for a class. But as I dragged myself out of my cozy dorm room, I reminded myself that tomorrow, I would be so glad I went. 

From the perspective of a decidedly non-theatrical-y person, here’s my rundown of the play:

First, a quick synopsis. (Spoiler alert!)

Antigone wants to bury her dead brother Polynices. 

Her uncle, Creon, has decreed that anyone who buries him will be put to death because Polynices is a traitor to the country. 

Antigone wants to obey the laws of the gods, not the laws of her uncle (don’t we all love a rebellious heroine), so she decides to bury her brother anyway. 

Once Creon finds out, he puts her in a cave to starve to death. 

A blind seer finally convinces him to let Antigone out, but it is too late. She has already killed herself and her fiance, in his grief, commits suicide too. 

Her fiance also just happens to be Creon’s son, so that is unfortunate. Creon’s troubles still aren’t over, though, because his wife also kills herself. 

Basically, life sucks for Creon. And that’s the end of the story. I guess that why it’s called a tragedy.

The Good

Juliette Binoche. I saw her in a movie once so it was overall pretty cool to see her in person. Even if I was eons away from the stage.

The cast. The play’s advertisement was centered so heavily around Juliette Binoche as Antigone that I was blown away with how good everyone else was too. The evil king Creon was eerie and dark and fantastic. Definitely capable of starving someone to death.

The costumes/scenery/music/overall vibe. The costumes were simple enough to not be distracting but interesting enough to matter. The music was minimalistic but definitely added to the feel of the play. And while I certainly didn’t understand what all the symbols on the ever-changing backdrop meant, I think a little ambiguity in art is always healthy.

The Bad

The characters. This play was confusing. Almost all the main characters doubled as chorus members with literally nothing to distinguish their varying roles. I guess the good thing about that is it kept me awake.

The pacing. I disliked this aspect the most because it made me feel bored and I strongly dislike feeling bored in the presence of art. There were a lot of drawn-out dialogue sections that I couldn’t hear very well (thanks softly whirling light projector). It took forever to get to the climax, but instead of building up the excitement and tension, it made me forget to care about what was actually going on.


Taking the good and the bad together, I’m glad I went. (You’re probably thinking, You had to go! I know. Just let me be artistic for a minute here). A great cast and visuals made Antigone an excellent piece of art.


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