Over the centuries ruling family families have sprung up in many countries. They rule by force and buying off a supportive populace. Often the death of the leader leaves a power vacuum and subterfuge and fighting breaks out between the relatives of the leader. Seldom is any thought given to those being ruled. Those close to the seat of power never want to give it up.
As we have been seeing in the middle east it usually takes an outside force to end a rule of tyranny. In the middle east it has been the middle class, intellectuals, heavily the young and many women demanding the end of tyrannical rule.
“Antigone” tells the story of one woman, a member of the royal family, that says enough is enough. Her father the ruler dies. Her brothers fight to the death trying to take power. Her uncle steps into the power vacuum and ups the level of tyranny in the name of stability.
“Antigone” opened last Friday in a KOLT Run Creation production at the California Stage. The background on the play and the development of this production can be found at a SacPress preview.
KOLT co-producer and actor Kelly Ogden shines in the title role. She truly embodies Antigone the niece that stands up to her uncle’s arbitrary and tyrannical laws designed to keep him in power. The character Antigone stands in for all who reject the status quo that does not represent them-even to death. Ogden while physically slight is still a powerful force against her uncle’s wishes. Ogden’s performance leaves little doubt that Antigone will fight to the death for what she believes in.
KOLT associate artist Patrick Murphy plays the uncle, Creon, who is not about to give up the power he now holds. Everything about Murphy’s performance exudes power-the voice, attitude and demeanor is of one who controls all around him.
The performances of these two actors alone is worth seeing this show. But there is so much more including several good supporting performances.
French playwright Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) adapted several Greek Myth stories to modern settings. Sophocles’ “Antigone” remains the most popular. He wrote the adaptation during the Nazi occupation of France and had to use a lot of subtrifudge to get the play past the censors. There are lots of twists in the play. For example, Antigone is engaged to her cousin Haemon, Creon’s son.
In many Greek plays there is the Greek Chorus who make commentary, confront a character or explain the action. Often the chorus is difficult to understand. Not a problem in this production with one actor playing the chorus.
Kellie Yvonne Raines as the chorus is the first to appear. Her chorus powerfully sets out what the audience is about to see. Raines projects power with a clear voice. She is the only character that can get Creon’s immediate attention.
Other good supporting cast include Ben Moroski as Haemon, Analise Langford-Clark as Ishmene, Antigone’s sister and Gay Cooper, the sisters nurse.
Jonas, Binnns and Sout the guards are played by Ernesto Bustos, Daniel Fagan and Brandon Lancaster. Bustos stands out as the lone guard with Antigone while she waits her fate.
Mitch Worrell-Olsen who has been seen on many Sacramento stages gives a good performance as the king’s page. It is easy to forget that he is twelve years old.
Jeff Webster rounds out the cast as the messenger that brigs very bad news.
This production of “Antigone” by KOLT Run Creations has taken a very old story that has been given a well respected update and with uniformly excellent acting given the audience an entertaining evening. In keeping with KOLT’s promise the audience has something to think about after having left the show.