A beautifully distilled version by playwright Adrian Osmond that cuts to the heart of the play’s themes.
The secret of the production’s success lies in the absolute clarity of Adrian Osmond’s 60 minute version of the text.
In a war-torn land, a young woman takes a stand against her city.
Antigone’s parents are gone. Her two brothers have destroyed each other in battle. One of them was branded a traitor – so now anyone that is caught burying his body will be punished with death.
But Antigone cannot desert that duty to her family. As defiance and division mount, more bodies will surely fall to the ground…
Writer Adrian Osmond
Director Maria Oller
Composer Kenneth Dempster
Choreographer Janis Claxton
Set Designer Becky Minto
Costume Designer Kat Smith
Lighting Designer Simon Wilkinson
Sound Designer Andrew McCall
Teiresias John Edgar
Guide Derek Darvell
Antigone Nicola Tuxworth
Ismene Teri Robb
Creon Sean Hay
Haemon Douglas Briglman
Eurydice Leigh Flynn
— Guards —
Kay Ann Jacobs
Flute Julie Aitken
French Horn Joe Boyd
Clarinet Yla Garvie
Violin Elanor Gunn
Viola Sarah Leonard
Production Manager Gemma Smith
Stage Manager Catherine Devereux
ASM Lee Davis
Assistant Costume Designer Sophie Donaldson
Costume Maker Aisling Ni Ghloinn
I was commissioned by award-winning Lung Ha’s Theatre Company to write a new version of Antigone. Based in Edinburgh, Lung Ha’s provide opportunities for people with learning disabilities to become actively involved in the performing arts.
Sophocles’ version of Antigone is almost 2,500 years old. It was written for an audience in Athens who would have known the story well and would have been seeking a new interpretation of the tale.
Since then, it has been adapted many times to reflect different cultures and events, as the questions that this play asks have continued to resonate. It presents a battered community and characters that are faced with a fundamental, irreconcilable dilemma. It presents a clash between the needs of the State and an individual’s conscience; a clash between written and unwritten laws; and it asks where one’s loyalties should lie – with one’s family, one’s nation, or simply oneself?
I have not focused my text around specific current events; although Gaddafi’s downfall occurred just after I had finished writing, and his final words – “What did I do to you?” and “Do you know right from wrong?” seem chillingly close to resembling quotes from this script.
Instead, a guiding principle has been to create a version for people that may not have heard this tale before. With an hour’s running time, I have aimed to be true to the spirit of the original text, maintaining (most of) its structure and much of its debate, but distilling this down to its essence as far as possible.
One aspect that has been removed is the Gods. The original motivation behind this decision was practical – there are enough names to remember amongst the human characters, without including those of deities that never appear. Their removal also frees the story from being bound to a particular time period and system of belief.
But, of course, you can’t actually delete the Gods from this story. For starters, Antigone hinges on the need to perform proper funeral rites so that a soul can come to rest. And there is a constant sense that laws and powers are at work that are greater than those of man. In the original play (as in many Greek dramas), the humans try to determine what the will of the Gods might be – which choice is right in their eyes, and which is wrong.
And so this textual shift has a devastating effect on this community. For the Gods are not actually absent – in fact, they feel more present than ever. Their names and properties may have been removed, but the daily mysteries that confront humanity remain. So these people still wonder where the howling wind comes from, and what happens after you die. They recognise that there are forces that are far more powerful than them, and that they are failing to appease the mounting wrath.