SARASOTA – For its final production of the season, the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training will present Antigone, Jean Anouilh’s retelling of Sophocles’ classic tale. The famous Greek tragedy about the collision between the state and personal responsibility, in a modern version that reveals just how dangerous it is for the individual to take a stand in the 20th century. It opens Wednesday at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
|Andrea Adnoff and Brian Owen
photo by Frank Atura
The production will be directed by Andrei Malaev-Babel, Head of Acting at the Conservatory, who sees Anouilh’s play as a cry for freedom.
“Antigone refuses to compromise for political reasons,” says Malaev-Babel. “She refuses to abandon her youthful ideals. She must remain true to herself, even at the expense of her own life.” In 1944, when Jean Anouilh wrote Antigone, and Nazi occupiers had consolidated their grip on France, this was dangerous thinking. Anouilh’s reinvention of Sophocles’ tragic heroine quickly took on a life of its own. The French resistance saw a kindred soul in Antigone. She became a compelling symbol of the defiant human spirit—willing to stand up to unjust power, no matter what the personal cost."
Malaev-Babel knows what that’s like on a personal level.
“I grew up in the former Soviet Union,” he says. “In that society, the question of compromising one's ideals for the sake of survival was very real. For artists, scientists, and ordinary people across society, that question was inescapable.” He adds that, “The question hasn’t gone away today. The world of our time is filled with turmoil. There are still many oppressors, big and small, obvious and subtle. And tens of thousands of people still pay a price for standing up for their ideals.”
Malaev-Babel adds that set designer Rick Cannon and costume designer David Covach are working to create the fantastical world of Anouilh’s Antigone, one in which ancient Greece fuses with Nazi-occupied Europe.
Antigone opens Wednesday night at 8 p.m. and runs through April 27, at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. There will be a special preview on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. For more information visit the Asolo Rep website.
|Andrea Adnoff - photo by Frank Atura
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