The classic “Antigone” in the time of protective masks

Greek director Stathis Livathinos directs “Antigone” at the “Lucia Sturdza Bulandra” Theater. The staging of Sophocles’ play reformulates the relationship between the heroine and the ruler of Thebes.

“People think that Antigone is a heroine and Creon a tyrant. I don’t think that was the intention of Sophocles, because he, like Shakespeare or Homer, knew the many facets of the human being. I think that classic plays ”Antigone” they are like a sacred secret, they are the gold that must be discovered “, the director explained in the spring, when he was preparing the show.

The play that concludes the Theban trilogy starts from a point where there are already many dead. Oedipus was torn to pieces by the news that he had killed his father and married his own mother, Jocasta. His sons killed each other on the battlefield. Jocasta’s brother, Creon, came to power and forbade the burial of the one who attacked his own fortress. Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, is determined to risk being punished with death to honor the memory of her brother whose body was left prey to wild animals on the battlefield.

The crisis of authority, the chance of injustice
Like any classic text, “Antigone” arrives on stage followed by a whole series of established forms over time. The new montage resumes the classic themes (reconfiguration of the female character, civil disobedience, the opposition between the laws of men and those of the gods, the need to respect even those who err) but adds an immediate dimension. A completely different story tells us the new song today in a version in which the crisis of authority and protective masks are part of the landmarks that we are constantly negotiating to comply with the law.

All of Sophocles’ characters obey the law. And it is precisely these laws that turn their lives upside down. And the laws of the city, and the laws of respect for the dead. And Creon, who knows that “to worship the dead is in vain”, and Antigone, convinced that “the dead / For a long time we will be loved as the living”, bring before the spectator the same desire to respect what language plastic would call the defining landmarks.

The news bulletins of the day also talk about the dead and the infected, and the observance of the law as well as the observance of the person’s rights also clash in the confrontations between those convinced that they have the absolute truth in the last months.

The force of interpretations

“How good I was, how submissive! / And today everyone sees in me a rebel” says “Antigone”, which Livathinos brings both on the stage from Bulandra and in live and recorded broadcasts online. She is overwhelmingly played by Alexandra Fasola in a constantly negotiated balance with the version that Anca Androne brings to Ismena (the role of Ismena will also be played by Silvana Negrutiu). Cornel Scripcaru is Creon, with a difficult score. He has to cover a beach that takes him from the balance of the legislator who looks “with disgust at that leader who put his friends / Above the country in which he was born”, to the final collapse in the face of the destructive consequences that they have their decisions by emphasizing traditional beliefs: “As long as I live, a woman will not lead here!” and “If only the throne were taken from us / At least made by a man, not a woman!”.

The strength of the characters played by the actresses in the new production from Bulandra is decided by the sharp drive that Andreea Bibiri offers to the legendary Tiresias, the character responsible both for triggering the ode dedicated to man in Sophocles’ text and for formulating the warning about the final tragedy. The tension is also managed kinetically by Alin State (Hemon), Ana Ioana Macaria (Euridice), Adrian Ciobanu (Messenger 1) and Maria Veronica Varlan (Messenger 2).

The tragedy is coordinated at Bulandra by sequences dedicated to the rhythm of classical lyrics and musical scores conceived by Daniel Jinga only for the moments when the action reaches its paroxysm.

In the oven of consciousness

Placed in the oven of consciousness, on a stage where the scenery is limited to the new chairs that descend from the sky lined up on a metal bar, to the obsessive tunic of the fallen and to the hatch from which the earth shines from the outside (scenography by Maria Miu and Nina Brumusila) , the new version of Antigone brings to Bulandra a reopening of the relationship between authority and individual. Authority can be state, divine or literary (as is the case of the classic text of Sophocles adapted by Mirela Nastasache, after translations by George Fotino, George Florin in a stage version signed by Bogdan Ghiu). The individual is also caught in the outpouring of each monologue but especially in the discursive stories of those around him, the events in classical theater being less often shown and, as in the staging of Bulandra, rather narrated by those on stage. The way we receive the news about everything that affects our life in these times, less as an event that we experience directly and especially as a story that we relive and assume empathetically, regains its classic form with “Antigone”.

04.08.2020, Α.Σ. «The classic “Antigone” in the time of protective masks»,


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