Juliette Roberts reviews UCL Classics’ Antigone; a fitting tragedy for current times.
Recently, it feels as though we are living in a Greek tragedy with all the sorrows we are seeing at home and across the pond. Last night’s performance of Antigone by the UCL Classics Society further encouraged these sombre and sorrowful feelings as the audience was immersed into the world of Thebes and the moral dilemma of performing burial rites for Antigone’s rebel brother, Polynices, despite the authority forbidding it. The character of Antigone is a heroine for today’s current society, as she sticks firmly to her principles and does not allow authority to dictate what is right and wrong. This character was interpreted by Ema Cavolli in a committed and emotional performance that made the audience sympathise with her reasoning for going against the State.
Nick Brown’s Creon complimented the heroine: his strong-willed portrayal and the way in which he inhabited a difficult role with ease and confidence, made sure he was certainly the star of the show. Creon holds a glass of liquor throughout the play, perhaps showing the torment and frustration of the character and and his internal conflicts such as his fear of the gods and whether or not to condemn Antigone, the bridegroom of his son, Haemon (Zac Peel). In the final scenes, Creon changes his mind because of the omens brought to us by George Jibson’s Tiresias, who was brilliant as a blind prophet who manages to eventually convince Creon. Brown’s eyes say it all as he is on the floor with his dead son in his arms; it is obvious the omen came true and family duty trumped the authority.
The demonic chorus, eerily ever-present on stage, added to the tension of the moral dilemma. Indeed, praise must be given to the set designer as the staircase to a raised platform where the chorus forever lurked was greatly effective. Moreover, the way in which the stage was split between the royal study and the outside garden with a bench and a tree, allowed there to be no set changes, allowing the play to flow uninterrupted. The subtle addition of music at moments of high tension furthered the dark atmosphere. Finally it must be mentioned that the translation of the play was excellent and credit is due to Nikita Nicheperovich and Marike Littlefair. They added a personal touch to the work and clearly adapted it for the performers themselves, appealing to their strengths as actors. All in all, it was a high quality play for an amateur production and it encouraged the audience to consider the consequences of our actions.
Image credits: Guinevere Poncia