Antigone in Ferguson at the Hop
"No woman will ever tell me what to do as long as I live," Creon blusters. Oh, yeah? You probably read Antigone in high school, but this is different. A new production is bringing the 2,500 year-old play into modern times. It aims to tackle current social issues that divide us, like racism and Blue Lives Matter, and the tension between the state's need for order and individual conscience.
The Hopkins Center will present Antigone in Ferguson, a unique production that has been touring the country for the past year. Its creator, Bryan Doerries, notes that Antigone and the incident in Ferguson, Missouri are thematically and factually linked. Antigone wishes only to bury her dead brother; Michael Brown's body lay on the streets of Ferguson for hours after he was killed by a police officer. Everyone is angry, and everyone thinks they are right.
Antigone in Ferguson has unusual staging. Four actors--usually named a month or so in advance--will deliver a staged reading of the ancient play. This just in: Tracie Thoms (Rent, The Devil Wears Prada) and Zach Grenier (smarmy divorce lawyer David Lee in The Good Wife), above, will star. The production will incorporate music and song. The Dartmouth College Gospel Choir will be joining a gospel choir from Ferguson, made up of singers from law enforcement (the Ferguson police department has its own gospel choir) and the community. Singers function as a kind of Greek chorus. Afterwards, four local respondents will lead a post-performance discussion with audience members about the themes and content of the play.
It's a daring concept: the dusting off of an ancient Greek classic, paired with music and audience participation, to see if theater can edge us toward healing and justice. As poet Mary Oliver says, art "is the only way in which you can live more lives than your own . . .It is one of the things that could save us."
At the Hopkins Center's Moore Theater, September 15 and 16, 8:00 p.m.
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Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge