Antigone was a Greek character who is often described in tragic terms. She was a young woman who tried to bury her dead brother because she believed she was religiously bound to do so, even though the law forbade her.
As a result of her actions, she lost her life.
When putting on the play, Antigone, there are so many conflicting factors that need to be taken into consideration: religion versus law, man versus woman and justice versus silence. Despite these factors, the students of the Argus Eyes Drama Society at Saint Peter’s University put on a fantastic show.
The students performed the play the weekend of Oct. 26, right before Halloween. From the first glance of the stage -- after the curtains opened -- it was clear that this would not be a typical production of a Greek play, but the audience loved it regardless.
“I knew they were going to make it modern, and that’s what I liked. I saw where it was going and how they changed some things around,” said Sara Gonzalez, a junior. “I loved the scenery, and I liked how they used the lighting and the sound effects.”
The scenery was dark and spooky; the sound effects were sinister and the lights were rarely used. It was a perfect play to be put on right before Halloween, but did this spin on the play stray too far from the original? No, in fact it was clever.
The students decided to put a new spin on the whole play by making it Soviet Union-themed. At first, this was quite confusing. What did the Soviet Union have to do with Antigone?
This question was answered as soon as Creon, played by Andrew Holowienka, approached the stage. His character’s demeanor drew a direct comparison to Joseph Stalin.
Holowienka was cruel. He was angry and that anger was red-hot. Quite simply, he was what many would imagine someone like Stalin would be.
Despite the similarities to Stalin, Holowienka also did a tremendous job of portraying Creon’s most iconic characteristics. The blatant sexism towards Antigone, the extreme arrogance, and the disrespect for other characters were all equally portrayed.
The most outstanding part of Holowienka’s performance came when he was faced with a confrontation from his co-star Tristan Benitez, who played Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiancée, Haemon.
Creon and Haemon’s confrontation was particularly phenomenal because it is relevant even today. It represented the stark differences of a father and son who have conflicting beliefs. ‘
Despite their conflicting beliefs, it was clear the Haemon, like many sons, still tried to understand his father’s reasoning. He failed in this mission because of his father’s unrelenting stubbornness. The change in their relationship was portrayed by the change in their body language.
It was clear in the beginning of the scene that Benitez, in his role as Haemon, tried to keep a respectful distance from Holowienka’s character, Creon. By the end of the scene the tension was clear, and the audience was on the edge of their seats waiting to see what would happen next.
Creon and his son were angry and frustrated. Just like any father and son would be who could not understand each other’s beliefs.
Benitez delivered an outstanding performance playing the heartbroken fiancée stuck between wanting to save his future life and trying to understand his father’s reasoning. Holowienka matched Benitez’s performance every step of the way.
It would be impossible to discuss the play without evaluating Antigone’s role. Portrayed by Sarah Nase, Antigone was both brave and vulnerable.
Nase played Antigone in such a way that made her relatable to the whole audience. She was strong, feminine and unafraid to stand up for what she believed in.
Yet, she was also emotional.
The audience felt the emotion in Nase’s voice and in her actions as she played Antigone. Nase helped the audience understand what it felt like to be a woman in a male-dominated world.
“I liked when Antigone was making her proclamations of even when if she dies she’ll do it,” Carissa Pangilinan said. “Just for the sake of righteousness.”
Antigone’s ability to stand up for justice and to not let go of her beliefs even when she knew she was going to die makes her the most inspiring character of the play, and Nase’s portrayal of her is what allows her to become the “shero” of the play.
Like Nase, Catriona Reuben Stevens, did a great job playing Teiresias, a role which is typically played by a man.
The decision to have a woman play Teiresias was genius. It modernized the role, and Stevens was just as phenomenal as Nase. Stevens was charming and refined in her portrayal of Teiresias, and her sleek and chic wardrobe added to the role.
“My favorite part was actually with the prophet,” said Enrique Mata, a sophomore. “It was a great performance.”
Ultimately, Stevens’ role was one of the most noteworthy of the play because it was unique and unforgettable.
The Argus Eyes Drama Society went above and beyond in their performance of Antigone. They were creative and unafraid to take risks, which paid off in the end.
They were able to modernize an ancient play, and make it relevant today to a diverse audience. Ultimately, they gave a show-stopping performance.