In Antigone Unearthed, the directors Rachel Broderick and Sophia Treanor cleverly recreate Antigone’s journey of no return– driven by her morbid attraction to death and hopeless indifference towards life. Here, Antigone is seen as much as a puppet swayed by the hands of the Greek gods (in this case the Furies) or a human being who lost her wits to the familial curse which she has no control over (being the offspring of Jocasta and Oedipus), as a girl who stands up for her beliefs even against an oppressive autocracy.
The actresses stood with their backs against you before the lights are turned off. When it is turned back on again, they are in their positions, gazing directly at you.
Then Antigone’s dream is reenacted.
Though the beginning chanting is rather too long as to be unnecessary and oppressive, it helps ease the viewers into all the subsequent Greek rituals. Furthermore, it physicalizes Antigone’s inspiration by the Furies through the repetition of a single key, which calls upon her the task of burying Polynices to uphold both the divine laws and family honor.
Although at times the tone of actress’ rhetoric seems out of touch with the mood of the plot, in general the acting drives the plot along to the climax, and an end of no return, for both the people of Thebes and Antigone.
The potting soil serves as a foil to the simplicity of the actress’ dresses and the portent of the imminent evil.
Is it madness that prompted Antigone to carry Polynices’ raw flesh on her back and to bury him against all odds? Or is it courage? And can Antigone love?
One man clearly doesn’t care: he fell asleep, with the play as his lullaby.