September 1984

There is no original of 'Antigone'; it pre-existed the earliest dramatic version by Sophocles and is one the a select company of myths that have helped to shape the artistic consciousness of western civilization - all the re-workings it has been subject to over the centuries are equally valid, and despite the broad historical context which has conditioned them, they are best seen as individual products. The is clearly true of the play by Jean Anouilh, conceived as it was during the Nazi occupation of France and replete with overtones of totalitarian brutality, for the play is far more than a subtle polemic directed against any particular political regime.
Anouilh's 'Antigone' is a blatantly 'intellectual' play, revolving around ideas just as much as around people, and most explicitly so in the speeches of the Chorus. Paradoxically, its intellectuality is also the source of its simplicity. The drama derives from a head-on collision between two types of necessity: human and political, in the persons of Antigone and Creon respectively. Both protagonists are determined to fight on their own terms and are unwilling to be drawn into the others sphere of action. However, Antigone's death is her victory, drawn into his own all too human tragedy. The other characters in the play are neutral and confused, and are, as the Chorus says, "caught up in the web without knowing why".
'Antigone' is a severe play, set in the aftermath of a civil war, with a tired old demagogue vainly trying to instill order into a decayed society, waging war with his niece over the body of her brother. W.B Yeats gas the best words for it -

"Pray I will and sing I must,
And yet I weep - Oedipus' child
Descends into the loveless dust."



Chorus - Greg Hooker
Antigone - Claire Wilson
Nurse - Tracey Roche
Ismene - Sian Denereaz
Haemon - Michael Ward
Creon - Daryl Brown
First Guard (Jonas) - Chris Whittle
Second Guard - Derrick Newton
Third Guard - Brian Critchley
Messenger - Rene Lelong
Page - Dean Palmer
Eurydice - Gillian Upton

Directed by Daryl Brown