A community production
Middle Fifth production of Antigone
The Drama Studio is no stranger to magic - transformation is the essence of drama after all - but last week for the first time ever our fabulous studio space became the venue for a play which cast a very particular and compelling spell on its audiences.
This production of Sophocles' classic play Antigone was the inaugural Middle Fifth play. It was a huge challenge for the cast of 22 to create a coherent world for this tale of divided loyalties and polemical beliefs to unfold within, but they managed it beautifully. The constant presence of the Chorus not only intensified the action and provided an environment for the events of the play through song, speech and movement, but also gave us a sense of the people of Thebes, and an awareness of their relationship with Fate.
An impressively strong cast gave us believable and emotionally charged characters to root for or against. We had the stubborn King Kreon who decides too late that admitting to a mistake is a sign of strength rather than weakness, his son, Haimon, who tries diplomacy to convince his father of his folly, and hot-headed and fearless Antigone who is determined to bury her brother (and spite her poor sister) even at the cost of her life, and the mysterious and all-seeing blind prophet, Tiresias, who knows how this madness will end. The cheeky guard who delivers the news of the burial attempt, and the messenger who has to reveal death after death to the audience and, heart-breakingly, to poor, beautifully understated Eurydice, also engaged us and moved us as appropriate.
Middle Fifth pupils not only provide the cast of Antigone, but they also assistant-directed, created and performed original music, and operated lighting and sound on both nights.
Ms Marriott said: “As director, I was hugely impressed with the maturity, creativity and commitment of the ensemble and delighted with the collaborative process that we all went through.
“As one of the cast said when we shared what we had learnt from the process: 'I would sum it up in one word: community'; those times when we come together and create something greater than the sum of its parts are magical and unforgettable, and the Antigone experience was one of those times.
“Thank you to every member of the cast and crew, and to the dedicated staff colleagues who made costumes, plaited hair and made-up faces, put up lights and made the most beautiful sun for the minimalist set, as well as to staff and parents who helped at the performances, ferried offspring to rehearsals and watched the performances so supportively.
“Thanks too to Richard Fryer who took the wonderful photographs.”