Quote of the Day: What does it mean to be strong? The very first line from Antigone, a Greek tragedy, remastered and on stage at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN for both student audiences and regular patrons. What a fascinating performance for students to experience. This all female cast gives new life and perspective to a story that often says, “How can a woman find justice in a world ruled by men?” This is powerful storytelling, filled with movement and life. It was like a well choreographed dance. 

Lauren Diesch as Antigone in Park Square’s production. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

Do you remember learning that back in Shakespeare’s time, all the characters of his plays were performed by men? Women weren’t allowed to perform. Their stories were told by men, and only men. Today, many voices are heard on stage and off. This production of Antigone allows women to tell their story, in an historical and contemporary way. The story is over 2000 years old, but told with modern language and beautiful movement, it is easy to follow. I was emotionally drawn into the story from that first line, “What does it mean to be strong?”

All of the actors are strong. Lauren Diesch as the title character is fierce. Her sister Ismene, played by Jamilia Joiner, is questioning and bold. Laura Leffler plays Creon, the king, who is challenged to choose between his own laws and family. The conflict between the brothers Eteocles (Kelly Nelson) and Polynices (Antonia Perez) shows the power struggle and damage that results from it. When the two battle to their death, one is allowed a proper burial, the other is not. Antigone risks her own life to honor his life and death. Students who go this this performance will have much to discuss.

Live musicians are behind the scrim and provide mood music, sound effects that really enhance this performance. We have Sarah Modena, Steve Modena and Jo Kellen to thank for that gift. I’m curious about the arrangements they used. Truly stunning.

From the press release for Antigone.

The story of ANTIGONE, the last in a trilogy by Sophocles, is rooted in civil disobedience, set in the aftermath of civil war. Oedipus’ two sons have killed each other in a fight for the crown of Thebes. Their uncle Creon becomes king and declares that Eteocles will receive holy burial while his brother Polynices is left unburied to rot at the gates of the city as a warning to other traitors. Their sister Antigone can’t accept this desecration. Knowing full well it will result in her own death, Antigone determines to bury Polynices, so his soul may rest.

Kedrowski was inspired by both a translation of the original Greek script and the 20th century version by Jean Anouilh. “I really love taking old works and using them as a baseline to create a new piece of theatre. Our script has many of the same characters and many of the same plot points, but we see people take a whole new path to get where they are going. And, unlike the original Greek script, where all the most dramatic action happens offstage and is told to us, we bring the action onstage for the audience to witness. We also include some of the character’s backstories to build more context and empathy for the emotions that are at play.”

The cast for ANTIGONE includes Lauren Diesch (Antigone), Laura Leffler (Creon), Kelly Nelson (Eteocles), Antonia Perez (Polynices), Vinecia Coleman (Haemon), Jamila Joiner (Ismene), Jamie Jachimiec (Eurydice) and an ensemble of Meredith Kind, Erin Farste, and Teresa Mock.

The production team for ANTIGONE includes Sophia Peyton (Assistant Director), Jaya Robillard (Stage Manager), Kyia Britts (Lighting Designer), Morgan Groff (Costumer Designer), Sarah Modena (Sound Designer), Steve Modena (Sound Designer), Meredith Kind (Fight Choreographer), Kelly Nelson (Movement Coach), Lars Nisswandt (Silks Coach), Ruth Coughlin Lencowski (Vocal Coach), Lea Bruker (Sound Consultant), Hannah Holman (Producing Consultant), Natalia Petersen (Musician), Jo Kellen (Musician).

Ticket prices: Previews: $20-$37. Regular Run: $25-$60. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square ticket office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org.