Raul Quiros Molina
Directed by Sarah Provencal
Pros: An interesting production. It may not seem like an obvious ‘must-see’ show but I thought it was a worthwhile hour and a slightly left-field choice.
Cons: The acting was rather heavy with some odd choreography. You may find it helpful to track down a synopsis of the original classic play beforehand.
Our Verdict: A bold attempt, but ultimately this production is difficult to engage with and really enjoy.
The Camden People’s Theatre
was new to me, and although it isn’t much to look at from the outside, I enjoyed the small scale space. The foyer contains the box office and the bar with some seating, and it is all manned by friendly staff. The theatre itself uses a central floor area as a stage contained within a U-shaped formation of fifty two seats.
I have to confess that I’m not very clued up on Greek tragedies so I did a little research on the classic Antigone beforehand. It was useful to be familiar with the characters and plot, but certainly not essential as this version provided all the relevant information within the writing. Having a little knowledge probably allowed me to get my head into the drama more quickly though. The play contained themes of war and idealism, and tried to show the awful weight that comes with being a leader: themes as relevant today as they were for Sophocles.
Performances were larger than life which I put down to the style of Greek tragedy. There were also some odd choreographed movements involving the cast holding and moving Antigone’s arms. I found it all a bit puzzling although the point may just have gone over my head. The heroine, Antigone (Kim Morrison), represents the idealism that comes with the innocence of youth. Even when given more than one opportunity to escape her impending death sentence she stubbornly chooses to stay and face her fate rather than live and compromise her beliefs.
Creon (Andrew Futaishi) begins as a sure-footed leader but we witness doubts gradually creeping into his head, as voiced by the Chorus. He demonstrates the politics involved with leading and safeguarding a people; the ugliness of war that is often kept from the masses that it is meant to protect. What begins as black and white develops into shades of grey and we are asked to consider all aspects of what war really entails; the differing perspectives of the ruler sending troops to fight, the attacking soldiers, the people on the receiving end, the families of the slain soldiers and the true price of freedom. The added twist is that Creon’s son and Antigone are lovers, so by ordering her death he is breaking the heart of his own son which in turn causes him grief as a parent. In this way we see the story in both political and personal contexts.
Some of the cast of seven double up with roles to provide the all-important Chorus. This includes Katrina Hasthorpe who plays Tireseas, the blind prophet and advisor to Creon. She is transformed from one role to the other by donning sunglasses which raises some amusement in the audience. But the lightened atmosphere is brief as she goes on to remind her ruler that he is defying the Gods in his treatment of the dead Polynices and that Thebes will be cursed by his actions. Her words make Creon doubt his decision and his torment and change of heart are clearly shown in this powerful rendition.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
The Last Hour of Antigone runs at Camden People’s Theatre until 4th July 2013.