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‘Antigone’ skates fine line between defiance, need for order

October 10, 2014

Eiffel TowerThe NIU School of Theatre and Dance will perform playwright Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone” as the first production of its 2014-2015 Studio Series of plays.

Directed by Patricia Skarbinski, “Antigone” is an adaption of the classic Sophocles play that shares its name. It opens Thursday, Oct. 16, on the NIU DeKalb campus.

Sophocles’ “Antigone” is a tale of oppression and defiance and inspired Anouilh’s adaptation, which was written and first presented in France in 1944, during the prime of the German occupation of Paris, and fascist control by the Nazis.

The ideas and conflicts presented in the play were as meaningful during WWII as they were to the ancient Greeks, Skarbinski said, and just as meaningful today.

“We are still living in an atmosphere of shifting world power, plagued with terrorism and other natural and political turmoil,” she said.

Jake Ben Suazo, the MFA in acting candidate who plays the role of King Creon, said the play does an excellent job of presenting the fine line between the need for order and control and the defiance of that power in order to follow one’s personal values and beliefs.

“The reason the Nazis allowed this play to be produced is that the struggle between Antigone and the king showed both sides of that conflict, and each side saw it as supporting their cause,” he said.

“The French Underground loved it as an example of defiance,” he added, “but Hitler also liked it as an example of the need to uphold the law, and to maintain control over the new order.”

Although the characters and their actions are the same between the original and modern versions of the story, Anouilh’s text is WWII contemporary. “Although the plays parallel each other, the language is not at all formal like the original Greek play,” Suazo said. “It’s easily understood by a modern audience.”

Performances are at the Holmes Student Center Diversions Lounge Theatre, 340 Carroll Ave. “Antigone” runs from Thursday, Oct. 16, through Sunday, Oct. 19. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

All general admission tickets are $6. Reservations and additional information are available by contacting the NIU School of Theatre and Dance box office at (815) 753-1600 from noon to 6 p.m. weekdays or by email at [email protected].