Within the first five minutes of “Antigone X,” the audience was enamored by the majestic movements of a ritual dance being performed by actors to honor the gods in the play. This scene set up the rest of the night for a classic story told in a modern light.
The latest play put on by California Repertory is being performed at the Theater Arts building on campus for this week. This is a gratifying adventure about love, power, loyalty and integrity that anyone viewing can enjoy.
“Antigone X” by Paula Cizmar is the last chapter of a three-part series based on Theban legend and myths originally written by playwright Sophocles around 441 B.C. This is a story about King Creon, played by actor Tom Trudgeon, a man who is trying to restore peace and order across the land of Thebes, which is currently filled with nothing but refugees. Thebes is suffering from poverty, starvation and crime due to a curse Creon inherited after claiming the throne from his two nephews, Eteocles and Polynices, who kill each other fighting for the throne.
Due to prior decisions made by Polyneices, Creon decides that his nephew should not receive a proper ritual burial and anyone who decides to do so is unloyal and shall be killed as punishment. Antigone wants to stand by the code to which she was raised; she is very religious and believes that the gods will cast judgment if she doesn’t give her brother a proper burial despite the laws that her uncle, Creon, has recently established.
Fury is exerted from Creon once he finds out of his niece’s betrayal and sentences her to death for breaking the law Creon established. Not the most religious person, Creon elects to put Antigone inside of a tomb alive. He tells her to pray to her gods in hopes that they come save her, causing a feeling of fear to spread across Thebes. The citizens worry for their own safety as they see how heartless their ruler ruler can be to his own niece.
One of the central messages in the story is that you can not let power consume you to the point of losing sight of who you are and what you stand for. After becoming king, Creon changed for the worst as the audience witnesses a character that once looked promising turn into a man who possessed and stood for nothing. This is the picture painted to Creon by the blind prophet Tiresias, played by actress Kayla Manuel. Trudgeon does an exceptional job of displaying the kind of raw emotion that someone would go through when losing everything they held dear.
The writing is truly valuable and shines in this production because it forces the audience to think about what the important things are in life.
The lighting used in the production was especially vibrant and colorful, matching with the mood of each scene and making the characters look powerful as they spoke in front of the audience.
Everyone in the story gets their time to shine in the spotlight. The actors really make these characters believable and relatable, forcing you to empathize with them. Dorthea Darby makes it easy for the audience to understand Antigone as they can see why she must follow what she believes in, even if it means endangering her own life.
Audiences will leave this play feeling empowers by the characters fighting for what they believe in. This is what makes Antigone such an admirable character, because she did not fear death in the moment of truth. She was determined to do the right thing no matter what the cost would be.
Tickets can be purchased at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/975315.