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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Antigone and Beyond

Antigone, at Boston Playwright’s Theatre on 949 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, is alive and well. Sold out, for its final showing on the sixth, there is sure to be much more to come from this ensemble cast and crew. Antigone was adapted by Richard McElvain from the play by Sophocles, and was directed by UMass Professor Daniel Gidron.

Antigone is the story of political power, civil unrest, control, rebellion, dysfunctional families, and the ends to which one man will follow his own stupidity. Considering we happen to have war and political crisis lurking on our minds, the play reminds us of how ridiculous executive orders become when made hastily.

With an almost post-apocalyptic back-drop, Antigone’s ancient Thebes is traded for a more modern setting. Great care is made likening King Creon, ruler of Thebes, to a certain president with some similar issues.

With the theatre in complete darkness, the first scene grabs hold of you right away, with Antigone, the story’s titular heroine, making the decision to bury her brother Polynices. Polynices died during an attempted coup against the ruling establishmenmt of Thebes and is left unburied and labeled a traitor by Creon.

Meg Ryan, Angelina Jolie, Joan of Ark (to name a few), aren’t the only “take-no-prisoners” archetypes who show courage under fire. Antigone’s stubbornness touches on issues that would take centuries to unfold. Feminism was undiscovered territory in 425 B.C.

Action in the play is swift, with a true connection being made with each one of the characters. If you’re new to the idea of theatre, or maybe never really thought of it, this theater company “is” what’s happening. Superb in delivery, it is my selection of the week.

Professor Gidron currently teaches Directing I and Acting I at UMass Boston. Having directed over a hundred plays and teaching for over 30 years, UMB has had the honor of having him here for the last three.

He is currently directing Macbeth for Shakespeare Now, which brings master thespians to high schools in the surrounding area.

“Plays happen chronologically, in movies you could be shooting, and never see the other actor in the scene. Theater [motioning to his ear] you get the sounds. Movies are mostly left to the trust of the director, theater it’s up to the actor, and the need to recreate the scene night after night,” said Professor Gidron.

On advice to beginners in the field, his opinion is strong but caring.

“I teach, as if you’re an actor,” Professor Gidron said. “I think the profession is so precarious . . . if one feels that this is the only thing for you, then do it. Learn your craft, know your craft.”