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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

'Antigone' brings a classic play to the Janet Wallace stage

By Tatiana Craine

This week, the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Main Stage Theater plays host to the latest from the Theatre and Dance Department-“Antigone.” With an intimately small cast of only a dozen actors, this play is a performer’s dream. The cast rehearsed throughout winter break, working tirelessly on the adaptation of the classic play by Sophocles.

The Mac Weekly had the chance to talk to Stephanie Stuart ’11, who plays the title role, about everything “Antigone” from Epic Theatre to costumes.

The Mac Weekly: You play Antigone, an iconic theatrical character; how did you prepare for the role?

Stephanie Stuart: I read a lot of different versions of the play, and thought about what aspects of the character are universal and show up over and over again in her behavior. We spent a lot of time creating the world of the play as a cast, and it was a fun sort of exercise to combine those universal “Antigone” characteristics with the character that I thought would come out of the world that we created.

TMW: Can you speak to the differences in the classic version of “Antigone” versus the Bertolt Brecht adaptation that you’re performing onstage?

SS: Brecht is interested in Epic Theatre, which openly embraces its theatricality, and works for social change. This is not the comfortable, naturalistic theatre that we find ourselves accustomed to, the language is poetic, the fourth wall disappears, the actors examine their performance as the audience does, representing rather than embodying the emotions of a character. Epic Theatre is a topic that could take a lifetime to research, study, and attempt. Big stuff!

TMW: Can you describe the atmosphere audiences can expect to see in this production?

SS: The world is one that we have worked together to create as a cast, director, and production team. The set is heavily inspired by images of Europe in World War II, the costumes are inspired by high fashion gone distressed, and the music has folk influences as well as electric guitars. Really, you just have to see it.

TMW: What kind of messages can audiences take away from this production?

SS: Antigone is timeless, epic, and can be applied to any situation where human rights are violated. There’s a lot of direct audience address in this production, and I hope that people walk away wondering how this play applies to their own life.

TMW: What was the biggest challenge for you as a performer in this play?

SS: Voice, emotional release. We start near the ground, and always return to the ground. That idea of becoming dust after death drives me through the performance technically as well as in theory-we have to breathe deep and speak from a low part of the torso to deliver the lines with the right gravity and weight.

TMW: Can you talk about your experiences working with director Randy Reyes?

SS: Working with Randy has been great! He’s an actor as well as a director, so he really knows how to talk to us and help us find the way to the performance that does justice to the text. He’s also really laid back, and doesn’t get riled up too easily-all good things in a director.

TMW: Can you talk about the best part of being in this production?

SS: Epic theater is cathartic-not many people get to do this kind of work, and it’s a whole different kind of release than we are used to having in our everyday lives.

TMW: Any last thoughts?

SS: It’s been fantastic to analyze this play textually, historically, socially, and to come up with a production that does it justice is thrilling!

“Antigone” will be at the Janet Wallace Main Stage Theater Feb. 17-19 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 19-20 at 2 p.m. Tickets run from $2-7. For more information, call 651-696-6359.

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