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WORLD PREMIERE! New adaptation of Anouilh’s Antigone arrives on September 20.


Emily James as Antigone. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

By A Noise Within
June 11, 2015

When Jean Anouilh presented his interpretation of Sophocles’ fifth-century B.C. play, shock waves rippled through the City of Light for the play’s unflinching portrayal of Nazi-occupied Paris.

Today, this damning reflection of the Vichy Regime remains one of the most startling artistic reactions to man’s inhumanity to man. It is also a paean to one woman who, knowing she was doomed by doing so, had the audacity to take a stand against the horrors of her time.

It has been 70 years since a new English translation of this groundbreaking work. Now, with special dispensation from the Anouilh Estate, A Noise Within Resident Artist Robertson Dean’s adaptation marks the world premiere of a new version of this spellbinding play.

Antigone is the epitome of classical drama, with perfect respect of the unities of time, place, and action,” Rob says, “and is a wrenching portrait of a hero who remains true to herself against all odds. The play asks us, ‘What if you thought something was sacred but nobody else did? Would you hold true to your beliefs or buckle to popular opinion or the status quo—even if the former ensured your own demise?’”

Rob continues, “Antigone was clear, both in her vision and principles. But you and I compromise every day of our lives; to maintain our personal safety, we pay a price nearly as dear as Antigone’s. By presenting this classic dilemma between society and self in 441 B.C., Sophocles all but guaranteed that the psyche of modern man would never be the same.” Indeed, Rob sets the play in a manner that recalls the modern world and Ancient Greece—a staging decision that redoubles the play’s urgency and universal themes.

“It was a great honor to have been entrusted with this new adaptation,” Rob confides, “and I still find it hard to believe that the estate granted me the rights. But this privilege carries with it responsibility—both to the play and the woman whose heroism it celebrates. If my translation causes audiences to question the certainty of their own morals—or at least, to bring their value systems into high relief—then I will have done right by this magnificent play.”

For more information on Antigone, please click here.

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