Hannah King · October 27, 2014
Southern Virginia University Theatre will present Jean Anouilh and Lewis Galantiere’s modern adaptation of the Greek tragedy “Antigone” Nov. 7-8 and 14-15 at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Chandler Hall.
Written during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, the play uses the millennia-old conflict between Antigone and Creon to dramatize the moral cost of asserting individual free will against the will of the state. Robert Stoddard, associate professor of theatre at Southern Virginia and the show’s director, said that though the play’s characters are used to represent the struggle between the French resistance and the Nazi regime, they also hold a great deal of relevance for modern audiences.
“Antigone is also a heroine for today because she’s speaking up,” Stoddard said. “With the rise of social media and other forms of global communication, that’s something that more and more people are able to do: find a voice and speak up about what they believe like Antigone.”
Stoddard said that bringing a play this serious to life has been challenging for the actors. “The cast has been wonderful at investigating their roles. They have their own questions and they bring those questions to rehearsal, where we sometimes have lively discussions about what we should do. They are quite good in their roles.”
Gloria Salisbury, a theatre major and philosophy minor from South Jordan, Utah, will play the title role of Antigone. She said that her favorite thing about Antigone is the character’s “strong moral integrity.”
“She knows what’s most important in life and she’s willing to die for what she knows,” said Salisbury. “I have always admired Antigone and playing this role has been a very spiritual experience for me.”
Salisbury said this production will give audience members “a call to stand up for what [they] believe in unwaveringly.”
“There’s a line in the play where the chorus says that there have been many Antigones who have come since 3,000 years ago and their message is always the same: it’s this clarion call to respect human dignity and human life,” Salisbury said. “I agree that there have been many Antigones throughout history, including individuals such as Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and Joan of Arc, people who have been willing to die for their beliefs.”
Tickets for the play are $8 for the general public and $6 for senior citizens and Southern Virginia students, faculty and staff. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 540-261-8464, or at the door prior to each performance.