by Sophocles, translated by Anne Carson
Fordham University, October 5 - 13 2018
Director: Rebecca Martinéz. Sets: Reid Thompson. Lighting: Elizabeth Mak.
Costumes: Harry Nadal. Sound: Cristian Amigo. Photography: Joey Moro.
“We begin in the dark
and birth is the death of us”
In the introduction of Anne Carson’s translation of Antigone, she writes, “I take it as the task of the translator to forbid that you should ever lose your screams.” The week we gathered to tech this ancient tragedy, a respected and learned woman stood up in front of the US Senate Judiciary Committee to tell her story of attempted rape committed by the Supreme Court nominee. A week later, her allegations were brushed aside to advance this nominee to the highest court in the country. All to say that, in 2500 years, nothing has changed. Women are still railing against the laws of men — “a statute of today or yesterday” — in favour of a higher morality: wisdom, justice, respect, and compassion for all.
In our version of Antigonick, Rebecca was interested in exploring the aftermath of war, and the difference between the consequences it has on the haves and the haves-not. The audience entered in the dark, lit only by LED lantern light, as Antigone sneaks in with Ismene to give their brother Polyneikes a decent burial despite his having fought on the losing side of the war. We are in no man’s land, separated from the palace with concrete blast walls that are toppled by the chorus to reveal a triumphant Kreon in all his palace’s modernist glory. But in Kreon’s eagerness to establish his authority, he buries Antigone alive for her crime, and in doing so unleashes death upon his house in the form of his son Haimon and his wife Eurydike. Carson reshapes this tale with sparse and severely poetic text, and her starkly evocative imagery was one that we sought to recreate in our stage pictures.
Kreon silenced the voices of his dissenters and “nailed their tongues to the floor”. Dictators in power always do. But we stand, like Antigone, no longer in silence, and resist.