2012 Toronto Fringe Festival: Antigone
Soup Can Theatre's rebellious production occupies the Toronto Fringe Festival
Presented by Soup Can Theatre
Written by Sophocles
Translated by David Grene
Directed by Scott Dermody
A protest scene unfolds to the sound of drums, tambourines, shouts and sirens. Riot police arrive with gas masks and batons. Is this the G20 Summit in Toronto or the stuff of ancient Theban legend? Director Scott Dermody explores the similarities between Greek myth and the current political climate in Soup Can Theatre's latest production of Sophocles' Antigone, now playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
The story begins in the aftermath of the civil war—two brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, have died fighting each other for the throne, and Creon, the new ruler of Thebes (played by a commanding Thomas Gough) has decided that Eteocles will be honoured, while the rebel Polyneices’ body will be left to rot, unsanctified and unburied, in the battlefield. In the opening scene, the brothers’ sisters Antigone (Cydney Penner) and Ismene (Leah Holder) meet secretly to discuss what to do with Polyneices’ remains. Antigone wants to defy Creon and bury the body, but Ismene refuses to go along with the plan for fear of punishment. In the end, Antigone follows her heart—a decision that leads to her untimely death.
When a messenger (played by the hilarious Chloe Payne) brings news of Antigone's transgression, Creon makes an example of the young woman, imprisoning her, despite the protests of his son Haemon (Gly Bowerman) to whom she is engaged to be married. Following this betrayal, the father and son face-off in a furious moral battle: in Creon's mind, there is nothing worse than civil disobedience, while Haemon thinks his father's values are unjust and insane. Ultimately, the power-hungry leader learns to accept his wrongdoing, but not until he has lost everything he holds dear, including his wife Eurydice (Kathryn Malek), as predicted by the blind prophet Tiresias (Michael McLeister).
Featuring clever staging, stirring sound design and references to the recent "Occupy" movement, Soup Can Theatre brings this antiquated text kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The cast and chorus (Adriana Crivici, Daniel Kim, Heather Motut and Aaron Rothermund) have a firm grasp of the script, and, despite a few projection issues, give solid performances throughout. Another impressive effort by this burgeoning theatre company.
Read our Q&A with director Scott Dermody here.
Antigone runs until July 15 at the Randolph Theatre. Visit fringetoronto.com for a full schedule and to buy tickets.