Review: Antigone, Holy What
No longer a one dimensional martyr
Antigone is one of the only plays I studied as a teenager where a young woman had principles that she expressed with intelligence and integrity. In this adaptation she is finally allowed to express the mentality behind the principles. No longer a one dimensional martyr, her choice to stand up for what she believes in is exquisitely explored.
Although Antigone is the title role Sophocles’ text is about Creon, his rise and fall, what it means to be a leader of men, what is more important punishment or mercy? It’s basically a story about management styles and what happens when you get it wrong.
In Lulu Raczka’s Antigone the girls own the story. We see the events through their young eyes. They tell of their history as if they have never known anything different because they haven’t. Their bond is fierce. They joke, play and pick on one another. Antigone (the oldest) always one step ahead. The story is easily brought into the twentieth century through the abstract set, which consists of a raised circular pool filled with dirt and the use of atmospheric lighting. The humour in the script relaxes the audience and makes the story of their parents and brothers believable even in a modern context.
Throughout their multiple conversations they discuss what it is to give your life for what you believe in and by the end it is clear that it takes a person with a certain amount of courage. Antigone is that person. We are left with Ismene’s loneliness and the description of her full life that still feels half lived.
The exploration that is achieve through the characters’ jumbled discussions is beautifully crafted. The level of detail paid to the smallest of gestures by the cast (Rachel Hosker and Annabel Baldwin) and their director, Ali Pidsley shows how every moment was well considered to ensure that their interactions were believable and poignant.
This was a thoughtful story, masterfully told and a joy to witness.