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Review: Bradley’s ‘Antigone’ production reflects on the question of right and wrong

“Does it matter who’s right or wrong when everyone suffers in the end?” 

Bradley Theatre’s latest production, an adaptation of the Greek tragedy “Antigone,” ponders this very question. 

Originally written by ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, the play tells the tale of what comes after a war. It follows a young teenager, the titular Antigone, who is on a mission to bury her dead brother after Creon, the new king, claims that he is a traitor and is therefore ineligible for a funeral. 

Throughout the play, there are breaks where the chorus leader, portrayed by Gabrielle Cadieux, leads the other cast members in breaking the fourth wall to include the audience in the play.

During such breaks, the chorus narrates the backstory of Antigone and her family as well as asking the audience questions about the actions of the characters. The question of  “Who is right and who is wrong?” is repeated throughout the play, especially after a powerful decision is made that affects all of the characters.

Breaking the fourth wall helped the audience understand what was going on in the characters’ heads and wonder what they would do if they were in that situation. Towards the tragic end, the chorus members aided in not letting the audience lose hope in the characters or the play.

The play’s director, senior Maggie Sullivan, said she went into the production not knowing how much it would resonate with current international events.

“It just speaks to how timeless and timely this play is,” Sullivan, senior theater arts and  advertising/public relations double major, said. “I know my audience walked out of that theatre inspired to help bring change to our world in order to avoid history repeating itself in the future.”

The set of “Antigone” was also a modern take on the pillars of Greece blended with the architecture of the District of Columbia. It incorporated several stone steps and a large marble archway in minimalistic fashion. Smoke was also included to create a distraught postwar atmosphere.

The rehearsal process started with table reads last semester where the cast and Sullivan read through the script to get a feel for the characters and the play itself. After winter break, however, the rehearsal process truly started.

“It was a lot of group work because a lot of the show has a lot of the scenes together and it was really nice because … I got to know a lot of the other cast,” actor Jack Courtad said. “I think a lot of the time if you were not bonding with the group, you were bonding with the director and learning more about your character as a whole. It was a really interesting process to go through on a five-day work week.”

The group bond and the tabling process during the first semester helped Sullivan’s directorial vision with “Antigone” blossom.

Garrett Houzenga, who was in attendance for the play, named its concise length as a highlight.

“Usually, I feel like plays and musicals are too long, [but] ‘Antigone’ was perfect as there were no scene or act transitions, along with the fact that it was just a short and sweet little play with minimal parts and actors,” Houzenga, freshman game design major, said.

“Antigone” is truly the story for those looking to see a change in society with the question that it continues asking throughout the whole play: “Does it matter who’s right or wrong when everyone suffers in the end?”

However, the play’s tale offers us a warning of not letting our stubbornness get the best of us when trying to make a change. Listen to those around us and always have hope inside our hearts. 

“Our stories make others see the flaws and problems of our society and inspire them to help make a difference,” Sullivan said. “I’m very proud to say ‘Antigone’ was the perfect form of revolution our society needed, and I’ve seen it resonate and inspire others into action. I hope to see the change soon.”

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