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What is Antigone’s lockdown dilemma?


If you’ve read Antigone, you would know that the Greek tragedy that Sophocles penned in 500 BC narrated a classic David vs Goliath tale, where the leading lady, Antigone takes on the might of the proud King Creon and defies his orders to secretly bury her beloved slain brother and rebel of the civil war, Polyneices. Angered by her dissent, the king orders her execution, overlooking that she is also the lover of his son, Hameon.

Reimagined as a Zoom production by city-based The Pomegranate Workshop, this unique adaptation, Antigone 24×7 by young adults will take viewers on a visually enriching journey to explore the motivations of Emperor Creon, his love-torn son Haemon, and the tragic heroine Antigone’s fight to surmount the odds.

As the world around them falls apart and isolation takes over, the characters bring alive a new theatre that transcends the stage and enters our homes. Interestingly, the same cast staged different versions of the original play in 2014 and 2016. “From age 12, later 15, and now 18, these actors grew with the story, and re-expressed themselves with each adaptation. While the earlier versions required intervention from experts for guidance, the actors have now taken complete ownership of the creative process with this lockdown version,” shares Priya Srinivasan, the workshop’s founder.

Gerish Khemani and Priya Srinivasan
Gerish Khemani and Priya Srinivasan

Director Gerish Khemani who has worked with the cast through the years, sheds light on the new act, “Antigone was set in the context of Thebes being under tremendous oppression, and at the cusp of political upheaval. With Antigone 24×7, we had to justify the use of the medium Zoom in a way that it never feels like it should have happened on stage. In our play, Creon enforces a historic lockdown to curb the rebellious elements in the state and restore his power. This builds context as to why the characters interact virtually.” And so as the young adult, Antigone stands up for what she believes in and faces Creon’s absolute power, several millennial tools from features on zoom, Instagram timelines to WhatsApp texts come into play for a contemporary adaptation.

The play, Khemani adds, goes beyond the conventional role of the chorus in Greek tragedies to narrate dark and cynical commentary on how the town of Thebes navigates the lockdown. The original music is haunting and festering, symbolic of the nature of the happenings. “The kids stayed true to the essence of the text and enveloped their own reality around it,” adds Srinivasan.

The play has garnered rave reviews from global theatremakers for their brilliantly inventive re-imagining and seamless integration of technology.

On September 12 and 13, 6 pm
Cost Rs 199
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