By Wendy Elliott
Antigone’s father Oedipus could not escape his fate, and neither could his equally tragic daughter.
Antigone, having grown up her father’s half-sister, responds to her fate stoically.
As the audience in the Acadia Theatre Company production, we can feel the tension between the duties we might owe the state and those that embody our personal values. Sophocles’s moral debate is as timeless as it is tragic, which explains the enduring power of ancient Greek tragedies after almost 2,500 years.
Isla Healy is a stalwart Antigone, who seems mired in her fate from the beginning. Not exactly a martyr, she portrays a determined young woman. I don’t see that the text illuminates her stance.
Despite a lot of yelling, Nick Cox as Antigone’s uncle Creon ranges from being a patronizing king to a human being reduced to mush. It’s a great role, as the head of state represents all the certainty and inflexibility of authority. We come to see that he is not evil, but believes, as do many modern leaders, that his power is inviolable. His dominance of the realm falls apart because Creon neglects instinctive human feeling, so the play ends head in hand.
The audience on opening night last week could only feel pity for the entire royal family. Fortunately, we had excellent comic relief from the trio of guardsmen. Danny McFarlane was particularly funny and endearing.
I agree with the writer George Steiner that tragic drama tells us that “the spheres of reason, order, and justice are terribly limited and that no progress in our science or technical resources will enlarge their relevance.”
Jean Anouilh’s Antigone is a modern take on the age-old Greek view of fate and war. Directed by Anna Migliarisi, with set and costume design by Vickie Marston, this production reminds why the ancient Greek playwrights are eternal.
Antigone continues March 14-16 at Acadia University’s Lower Denton Theatre. The play starts at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket prices: $12, $10 for students and seniors; $7 for groups of eight or more. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Acadia box office or at the door.