by Jean Anouilh, 21-25 July 2009

As they have rehearsed over the last few months the cast have grappled with the questions of morality versus legality and State raised in the play. In these recessionary times, ones own integrity and morality seems more important than ever, with the laws of the State appearing to some to flounder.

Antigone was written by Jean Anouilh and is an adaptation of Sophocles' tragic play of the same title. Written in 1942, when Nazi forces occupied France, the story revolves around the conflict between the idealist Antigone and her rigid uncle, Creon, over the proper burial of Antigone's brother, Polynices.

While the play may have been written to rally the sagging morale of the Resistance in Nazi-occupied France, its questioning of moral versus legal rights is timeless. The crux of this modern take on the myth centres around a debate between the young Antigone, who argues for the necessary existence of moral law, and her uncle, King Creon of Thebes who takes a stand for the laws of state.

The Director Writes

It is always a challenge to perform a play where so much happens - but none of it on stage - and which is so full of different philosophical strands requiring concentration and understanding. The classic Anouilh adaptation was performed against the backdrop of life in occupied Paris in the second world war providing immediate relevancy and indeed poignancy for its audience. At the time of writing this I am taken by the front page of every newspaper with pictures of streets lined with those mourning the passing of the latest casualties from Afghanistan. Sadly though modern day reality is that the real immediacy for the majority of us of the true horror of war, of living in a police state and of the loneliness of decision-making in those situations is confined to watching television footage, documentaries and films where unless we have been personally touched by the tragedy being depicted 'fact' and 'fiction' often merge. I choose the word 'tragedy' carefully for that is what lies at the heart of Antigone - it is not a melodrama - to paraphrase Chorus's famous speech. There is no happy ending, no "seventh cavalry riding to the rescue" to avert what seems to be inevitable.

Accordingly we have not 'set' our Antigone in any particular place nor I hope sought to replicate a backdrop which detracts or seeks to make this the focal point. This is not to say that we do not hope that our Antigone does not have a focal point but more, we hope, that this is in the words and the actions of the characters rather than costumes they wear, their props and the set.


CHORUS - Mickey Killianey
ANTIGONE - Alethea Steven
ISMENE - Gini Thompson
HAEMON - Tom Brennan
CREON - Craig Karpel
FIRST GUARD - Barry Clarke
SECOND GUARD - Anthony Lewis
NURSE - Charlotte Price

Director: Chris de Pury and Matthew Harrison
Producer: Amy Daw

Antigone, by Jean Anouilh
The Bridewell Theatre
Bride Lane Fleet Street
London, EC4Y 8EQ

21-25 July at7.30pm 2009