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September 1, 2015

At The Harvey-Theatre at BAM:

Anne Carson’s Version of Sophokles’ ANTIGONE [***]

If Only Oedipus Had Kept His Temper at That Place Where Three-Roads-Met…

The Big-News is that Juliette Binoche is playing Antigone in this Visually-Idiomatic-Revision of the Classic-Tragedy of Sophocles, whose Honored-Name is spelled with a K over at BAM’s Harvey Theatre.

This Contentious-Production Bears-the-Directorial-Stamp of Holland’s Ivo Van Hove, who has astonished Manhattan-Audiences before, both at BAM & at the New-York Theatre-Workshop, where he reworked Hedda Gabler, Little Foxes, & Streetcar Named Desire, in ways that might have seemed Super-Neurotic to their Titular-Creators.

Van Hove’s Antigone has been seen already at the Edinburgh-Festival, Paris’ Théâtre-de-la-Ville, & the Ruhrfestspiele, in Recklinghausen.

Writing within the Rigid-Dramatic-Format ordained by the Annual-Classic-Trilogy-Contests in Ancient-Athens, Sophocles was fortunate to be obliged to present a Searing Family-Drama with Royal-Implications as Simply but Starkly as Possible.

Unfortunately, Van Hove has fractured Sophocles’ Classic-Chorus, so that the Harvey-Stage is soon filled with Famous-Familial-Onlookers involved in Antigone’s Death-Wish.

Had Van Hove chose to stage Seven Against Thebes—which chronicles the Revolt of Polyniekes [Son of Oedipus] against the Authoritarian-Rule of King-Creon/Kreon—it might well have emerged as Fourteen Against Thebes

Van Hove’s Cast was nonetheless Forceful, even Powerful in Word & Deed.

Oddly, however, they were obliged to play against a Minimal-Back-wall, initially-adorned with a Large-Circle, which moved up, up, & away, only to return at the End.

Onto this Surface were projected various Landscapes & Shadowy-People wandering about with Shopping-Bags.

Juliette Binoche was admirable, but how much more impact her performance might have had, had she been able to play Sophocles’ Original-Martyr…

In 1959 & again in 1961, I was invited to teach Classic-Drama in Athens—in Translation, of course—for Members of the US-Embassy-Mission & Our-Overseas-Troops.

So I do know the Classic-Canon rather well, longing for Unadulterated-Aeschylus, Euripides-Unbound, & Sophocles, left standing Pure & Simple & Stark.

Copyright 2015 Glenn M. Loney

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