I AM NOT ANTIGONE

Antigone is about failed rebellion and fighting for fairness. In Greek mythology Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus who fights for both her recently deceased brothers to have the burials they deserve as her Uncle Creon has declared one a hero and one a terrorist. This teenage Antigone is set in the 21st Century and she lives her life through Twitter, Facebook, Skype and her laptop. She is also a typical teenager; rebellious, moody, whiny and argumentative.

This would be a good way for teenage audiences to understand the classic tale of Antigone, although I’m not entirely sure teachers would approve of letting their 16 year old students see topless nudity.

I am not Antigone is part of Window – The Fringe’s Arts Industry showcase. It is a platform for high quality, new work. This production if definitely high quality, it just left me wanting it to go further and the female characters lacked depth which is disappointing in a play essentially about feminism.

Before we go in we are given a piece of paper which gives us some background to the show, why they made it, who it is aimed at and what we should expect. I immediately learn that I am not the target market for this show – it is aged at 16-24 year olds. Looking around the audience that rules most of us out! This is apparently because the show ‘talks about relevant issues such as growing up and making choices using tools and a form that is meaningful to their everyday lives’. I’m not entirely sure what the latter part of this sentence means but I’m guessing it means use of social media and smart phones and I’m pretty sure that they are underestimating their older Brighton audience.

This is the UK Premiere of this production and it has already had a tour in Amsterdam and Serbia, although apparently the show has been reworked for a younger audience. This would be a good way for teenage audiences to understand the classic tale of Antigone, although I’m not entirely sure teachers would approve of letting their 16 year old students see topless nudity. That might be a hard sell to schools.

The show is performed by Vivien von Abendorff and Kalki Aporos, who play multiple parts. Both graduates from RADA’s MA course. Von Adendorff plays Antigone, the Narrator (I think she’s a Narrator - it’s hard to tell when she is stepping out of Antigone’s character. This is done through the addition and removal of a wig) and her sister Ismene. Aporos is the stronger performer and plays Antigone’s assistant, King Creon and Antigone’s boyfriend Haemon. He creates different character quickly and moves smoothly from the comedic, dim assistant to the smug, media savvy politician that is this 21st Century Creon.

I did enjoy this show but I found it started strongly and that the ending fizzled out with a disappointing end. But using twitter as the gossiping Greek chorus is a good idea that could have been developed further. I also liked the idea of Antigone talking to her followers through Ted Talks but this was not developed enough either. Perhaps actually getting the audience to tweet and be part of the action and recording actual Ted Talks that could be watched later and spark debate around the text in schools would make for a more rounded show.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Two performers: a girl and her assistant. An iPhone, a Macbook and Twitter. A 21st-century adaptation of a 2500-year-old story. Our playful tragedy is about a generation of revolutionaries who’d rather rebel via Facebook than actually do something. It is about politicians twisting the truth, about how stories and images are created, but especially about Antigone, who just can't be Antigone. After Amsterdam and Belgrade now coming to Brighton.

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