2012 Toronto Fringe Festival: Q&A With Antigone Director Scott Dermody

Soup Can Theatre artistic producer Scott Dermody talks about directing the company's new production at the Toronto Fringe Festival

The cast of Soup Can Theatre's Antigone.

Hot on the heels of their last two hit shows, Love is a Poverty You Can Sell (2010 Toronto Fringe Festival, 2012 Next Stage Festival) and Marat/Sade (2011), Soup Can Theatre returns to the stage this month with a contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival. The production ties ancient Greece and modern-day Toronto together by drawing inspiration from the violent images of the 2010 G20 Summit protests, as well as the worldwide “Occupy” movement.

Here, Soup Can Theatre artistic producer and Antigone director Scott Dermody gives us the scoop on this politically-charged play.

Theatromania: What inspired Soup Can Theatre’s modern-day adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone?

SD: First of all, I have always had a soft spot for the play and its various translations. I knew that I wanted to tackle the text at some point. Then the G20 came to Toronto. The aftershocks of the protests and subsequent police crack-down are still in the news. I would love to say that I immediately saw parallels between Antigone and the G20, but a much simpler event triggered the connection in my mind. A few weeks following the riots, I read a short report about two brothers’ experiences. One of the brothers was a protester at the marches and the other was a police officer. The article looked at how they came to terms with the personal divisions evident in the city post-G20. I thought, “That sounds awfully familiar...” I picked up Antigone for another reading and began noticing a whole host of blatant modern-day parallels to the ancient script.

Theatromania: Why is this ancient Greek tragedy relevant today?

SD: Sophocles seemed to be a wise man. Antigone’s text addresses some basic issues of power, politics and personal responsibility in an even-handed manner. These ideas carry into the present. Far too often these days, we hear polemic after polemic and are forced into a left-wing/right-wing state of mind. Sophocles has an opinion (as do I, for that matter), but allows his characters to debate the relative merits of each side. I think that is part of what was missing during the G20 Summit here in Toronto. Antigone helps fill in the gaps even now.

Theatromania: Tell us about the staging of this production. Did you encounter many challenges along the way?

SD: Staging for a Fringe Festival show comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, we began rehearsals over a month prior to finding out our venue... which, when you have a cast of twelve, makes a huge difference in terms of stage movement. We have some intense, physically demanding sequences that we have had to adjust as we go.

Theatromania: What do you hope audiences take away from the show?

SD: Questions. The second we stop asking ourselves questions is the second we give up the right to do so. Certainly someone famous has said something similar far more eloquently than I, but that’s what I’ve got.

Theatromania: What excites you most about this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival?

SD: The prospect that I may actually be able to attend a few shows this year is very exciting! I haven’t been able to for three years.

Antigone runs from July 4 to 15 at the Randolph Theatre. Visit fringetoronto.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Times:

July 04 06:30 PM
July 06 10:30 PM
July 08 01:15 PM
July 09 08:15 PM

Show Dates: 
Mon, 2012-07-02 - Sun, 2012-07-15


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