Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy’s 2015-16 theatrical season officially kicks off Thursday, Oct. 8 with Antigone, a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. Show times are Oct. 8-10 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. in Villa’s auditorium.
Many of Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy’s regulars are back on stage in this production. Petra Shearer (’17) plays the title role of Antigone. Antigone’s sister Ismene is played by Alexandra Karlinchak (’18), and Seamus Clerkin (’16) plays the headstrong King Creon. There are several smaller cameos throughout the show, and this is the first time Prep/Villa theater has ever had a Greek Chorus.
The Chorus in a Greek play is not like the ensemble in a musical. In traditional Greek plays, the Chorus serve as narrators and senators on the Greek court. They provide backstories, input on the current situation, and advice to the more dynamic characters. The role of Choragus, the leader of the Chorus, has been split up between senior Thomas Hoffman and junior Rachel Hoag.
Director Fr. Mike DeMartinis is excited to bring Prep/Villa’s first Greek production to the stage “Ancient Greece is where drama began,” he said. “The issues that these ancient comedies and tragedies addressed are still relevant in our time. The ancient Greek plays are challenging to actors and directors in ways that are unlike the challenges of Shakespeare or modern musicals. I’m excited to do a Greek show to continue exposing our actors and audiences to new experiences and forms of theater. It’s been a real good learning experience for all involved. It’s stretched us as performers and enlightened us to the roots of modern drama and the power of the ancient playwrights and the intensity of their work.”
Antigone is the third installment in Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy. Taking place in the ancient city of Thebes, this play focuses on Antigone as she must decide between following the laws of the land or the principles of her conscience. A moral dilemma arises when King Creon decrees that one of Antigone’s brothers will be buried with full military honors, while the other will not be buried at all, which in Ancient Greek culture meant that the departed soul would never find rest. Feeling an obligation to her deceased brother, Antigone finds it difficult to obey this proclamation, and the drama continues from there.
Petra Shearer stated, “Although many people have not seen or heard of Greek theater, I encourage everyone to come out and see this play because it will definitely be a fantastic as well as memorable performance.” The talented actors and actresses in Antigone are sure to bring this classic Greek tragedy to life.
Brian Buseck is a former senior editor-in-chief of The Rambler and a member of the Cathedral Prep Class of 2017.