Back to Thebes

My adaptation of Antigone is going to be produced in Ohio this coming fall! This was my thesis and project – sort of what would happen if Oliver Stone and Stanley Kubrick did a Greek tragedy. I read it now and see a lot of me intuiting things that I sensed were happening in the world around me but now I have a lot more knowledge and research about just how screwed up things can be.

Antigone is the third play in the Oedipus Cycle (extra credit: the plays were never part of the same cycle at the Dionysus festival but are often performed today as a whole). Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus. Her brothers tore the country apart battling for the throne – killing eachother in the process. The traitorous brother is denied a burial and Antigone feels this is a gross violation of the laws of the gods and proceeds to do something about it.

Antigone was a very strange play – I was never really in love with the play very much (note to self: FUCKING WRITE!). Just found myself sneaking into it more and more and what started as a modern dress version of a translation turned into an entire revamp/update of the whole story. But keeping that kernel of the laws of gods versus the laws of man. Usually the story is hinged on a feminist or anti-war bent but I really wanted to focus on telling a powerful story of a family falling apart and their disintegration leading to their country shattering to pieces. I am constantly fascinated by seeming small decisions that have an impact on the entire world – like the collusion of the Bush family and the Saudi royal family and how their connections have shaped international policy for generations. Or the Kennedys. Or the machinations of someone like Henry Kissinger.

I added a huge mass media influence as well as influences from rave and industrial music and ultraviolence – I think all the ensemble died 3 times each. I had just seen Natural Born Killers when I was writing it and was very influenced by that idea of violence as the last resort of communication. This was fresh off the Rodney King beatins and LA riots as well.

My main themes was that

A good play (or story for that matter) is either Loony Toons or Wagner – and if you’re lucky: both at the same time.

I tried to have a constant vacillation between the epic and the petty. To their citizenry the family appears heroic and locked in mortal struggle but inside the palace they are small, scared people. My paradigm for the actors was to ‘act from your DNA’. To reduce themselves to animals clawing for survival in an chaotic society. We had a ball.

Anyway – I’m packing my mental baggage and going back to Thebes to give the story a fresh War on Terror update. Expect bulletins.

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About Andy

Gay Hoosier Taurus INFJ ex-playwright pianist gymbunny published author in San Francisco. Tw · Fb

5 thoughts on “Back to Thebes

  1. JC

    Have a good trip! I wish that I were able to see the show. It is interesting how the personal affects the political.

    COMMENT:
    Heh – I’m not really going to Thebes (the kingdom of Oediups – modern-day Egypt) – ’twas a metaphor.

  2. Jef

    Antigone is actually one of my favorite Greek tragedies. Your play sounds very innovative and creative. I wish I could see it… especially since it has rave and industrial music. Didn’t Eugene O’Neil update Mourning Becomes Electra?

    I have a funny Antigone story from when I competed in forensics in high school.

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