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A Noise Within's 'Antigone' Does Justice To Injustice

Ani Mosinyan |
October 1, 2015 | 3:24 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

A powerful performance by the artists of A Noise Within is not unusual.

A Noise Within presented their world premiere adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s "Antigone," on September 26, playing through November 20, 2015. The play is translated and directed by Robertson Dean, and is part of the Company’s 2015-2016 “Breaking and Entering” season. 

Antigone deals with the struggle of staying faithful to one’s beliefs over choosing to do what society believes is correct. The main character is the tragic heroine of the play, set in her ways and unwilling to change, even if it means she must face death. Antigone goes against the king of Thebes’ wishes and buries the body of her brother, Polynics, knowing she will have to die as punishment. As a result, her fate impacts her loved ones and everyone in the kingdom, leading to many unavailing deaths.

The dark lighting complimented the solemn and somber mood, reminding the audience of the grim ending that would come. Edith Piaf played in the background, adding a layer of mystery; it was an odd choice of music, but it worked seamlessly with the scenery and story. 

The play was unsettling, to say the least. Antigone faced death with honor, and would not change her decision under any circumstances. The plot was reminiscent of Albert Camus’s "The Stranger;" it blurred the line between evil and good, and gave the audience an existential perspective on the struggles of humanity. 

Director Robertson Dean brought together an astounding cast; the actors kept the audience hooked on every scene between the main character and the king. Emily James played Antigone convincingly, showing us what is fear, what is frustration, what is love, and above all, what it means to fight to the death for justice. Antigone’s uncle, Creon—played by Eric Curtis Johnson—was ultimately the character who made us question what is good and what is evil. The Chorus reminded us that in a tragedy, the worst is inevitable and everyone is bound to their fate. Although the audience was frequently told of what was to come of the characters in this unfortunate series of events, it was nonetheless frustrating knowing that Antigone had a way out of her doom, and yet she chose death instead. 

There is this struggle that lies within not only the characters, but the viewers and (if you are reading the play) the readers of the play. One must empathize with Antigone and respect her decision, but there is also the frustration that ensues when we know how close Antigone is to escaping her fate—yet she is unyielding and unwilling to change. Indeed, just as The Chorus notes in the end, if it were not for Antigone, all would have been well and there would be no tragedy. 

A Noise Within never fails to leave an impression on its audiences, and "Antigone" is certainly impressionable and memorable spectacle worth seeing. 

"Antigone" runs through Nov. 20th at A Noise Within (3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena). Tickets start at $44. For more information, please visit www.anoisewithin.org.

Reach Staff Reporter Ani Mosinyan here.



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