The Antigone | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Antigone 

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The Antigone, Mom and Dad Productions, at Heartland Studio Theater. No play packs more themes or admits more interpretations than Sophocles' Antigone--not even prequel Oedipus Rex. There's no simple solution to the clash Antigone experiences between familial and political loyalties, and the play's myriad subconflicts--rationality vs. religion, state vs. individual, public vs. personal obligation--echo the issues of the emergent European nation-state. Often the work's knotted ambiguities get reduced to a battle between virtuous sister and villainous king, but this evenhanded production avoids that trap. As Antigone, Jill Sheridan registers both nobility and self-involvement; as Kreon, Joe Feliciano elucidates the troublingly sensible underpinnings of his character's protofascism. Both are destroyed by the same madness: despite consciously placing their principles above life itself, somehow neither can comprehend anyone else doing the same.

Some credit is due to director Gerald T. Murray's minimalist mounting, and even more to the unfussy colloquial translation (uncredited). In the time-honored manner of fledgling companies, this one gives its classical approach some abstract modern touches; the result feels vaguely beatnik or hippie (an impression strengthened by the Heartland environs). The supporting cast are pretty rough around the edges but for the most part get the job done. Of course nothing can change the fact that Greek tragedy, with its incessant "I'm talking about what I'm going to talk about" dithering, is generally more fun to consider than watch; that said, this ain't half bad.

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