Antigone Press Release | Sport for Jove
ANTIGONE – by Sophocles, in a new version by Damien Ryan
Antigone: “Justice is knowing what to do…when we don’t know what to do”
How do we punish our enemies, how do we reconcile our hatred and fear of those who seek to hurt us? We see it on our news every night, young people across the world caught up in violent ideologies, turning against their own state, their own people, destroying lives in ‘lone wolf attacks’ or planned militia violence. The modern terrorist typically dies in the act, hated and infamous – but loved by someone, a sister, a father, a mother. What do we do with the hated dead? What right do we have to love a terrorist when he is our brother? What comes first, state or family?
Creon in Antigone refuses to bury the body of his nephew for his crimes against his own community. In the United States’, two-and-a-half-thousand years later, the state officially refused to put the corpse of its Boston Marathon bomber in American soil. When they finally did so, in secret some months later, the local community dug it up - unburied it. Most Americans appeared to agree with the sentiment – and perhaps their perspective was justified – this young man killed 18 people and severely injured 300, including children. A local political leader said:  "I don't feel bad for him, he deserves nothing more than to be fed to the sharks." A funeral director, the only one who had taken a humane responsibility for the body, responded: "I want to know for a fact that once I get him there, (to a cemetery) that someone's going to bury him, not go back and forth and hold the body there because he's a terrorist or whatever they want to call him. I don't care who it is. This isn't what we do."
Antigone, a child of war, like too many in our world, asked a burning moral question thousands of years ago that remains too difficult for us to answer even to this day. What are willing to defend in the name of love? A young girl stands against the wind and inspires us with her courage, fortitude and impenetrable strength of conscience. But her excess of feeling and fundamentalist zeal are hard to reconcile in a world crying out for unity, order and the rule of law in a time of chaos. Her uncle, Creon, the King, believes he is selflessly placing his state above the welfare of his family, pursuing a principle with the sort of consistency that we cry out for in politicians who so often stand for nothing. The political voice today is obsessed with symbolic speech and action in response to the random fear that governs us. But are words enough? Are there unwritten laws that matter more than judicial ones? What is justice?
Antigone, by Sophocles, is one of the world’s greatest examples of how tragedy can do you good. This play is not about burying a body, it is about burying our hatred, resolving it, salving it, curing it, perhaps even forgiving it and reconciling a world back to peace.
We are very excited to be presenting a new contemporary adaptation of this ancient play, written by SFJ artistic director Damien Ryan, whose new version of Cyrano de Bergerac won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Independent Production in 2013. With the wonderful cast of Andrea Demetriades, William Zappa, Anna Volska, Louisa Mignone, Deborah Galanos, Fiona Press, Joseph Del Re, Elijah Williams, Janine Watson and Thomas Royce-Hampton, the play places a complete focus on the simple act of storytelling and the powerful democratic arguments between characters that Sophocles built his original story on, along with live music and song. Co-directed by Damien Ryan and Terry Karabelas. Designed by Melanie Liertz.