Antigone Reinterpreted for Contemporary Audiences

Buffalo State Production Breaks New Ground Staging, Casting

Posted: October 2, 2007
Audiences attending the upcoming performance of Antigone, by the Buffalo State College Theater Department and Casting Hall Productions are in for some surprises. The popular Greek drama by Sophocles is set 500 years from now. Contemporary themes related to war, environment and feminism propel the action. And, one of the play's most poignant roles is played by a promising young theater student who is deaf.

"This generation has seen so much tragedy that Greek drama is a natural fit. The challenge is to deliver the emotion in a contemporary context," said Drew Kahn, associate professor, Theater, Buffalo State College.

Kahn, who will direct the play, is especially excited about Sam Hemphill, a deaf student, being cast as the blind prophet Teiresias.

"Hemphill brings extraordinary sensitivity to the role," commented Kahn about the sophomore from the New York Metro area. "He will communicate through 'Sam language' and gestures, as well as through his companion, Teiresias' boy."

Set in 2441 AD with Thebes devastated by yet another crippling war, the story is of Antigone (Jeanette Steiner), willful daughter of King Oedipus, and her fight for what she believes instead of accepting the law of the land.

Her Uncle Creon (Julian Perez) has taken over as ruler of Thebes after the exile of King Oedipus. The former king's children have grown up under Creon's protection. During an attack on the city, two sons kill each other. Creon orders a hero's funeral for the son he favors and leaves the other son to rot in the streets, saying he was a traitor and anyone who tries to bury him will be executed. Antigone can't bear the thought of this, and despite protests from her wishy-washy sister Ismene (Christina Golab), she buries the body anyway. For her, there is no decision whether to obey an unjust law or to follow her conscience. She follows her heart knowing that it will lead to her death.

Performances, which will take place in Buffalo State's Warren Enters Theatre at Upton Hall, are scheduled for Nov. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $6 for Buffalo State students and $8 for Buffalo State faculty and staff. Admission is free for all high school students and teachers with ID. Casting Hall Productions is funded by USG through the mandatory student activity fee. For more information, call (716) 878-3005.

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