Directorial notes on Lena Kitsopoulou's production of Antigone
A group of people, reminiscent of an ancient tragedy chorus, talk to the audience about their own personal tragedies as individuals but also about coherence and aggregates and how they relate to the story of Antigone. The dramatis personae identify their occupation and personal hardship with Sophocles’ play in an absurd way. This, on a first level, makes the play appear comic. But the madness of the contemporary individual, even the notion that one’s personal tragedy is greater than anyone else’s eventually unfolds in front of the audience really tragic personages, either because these particular people experience themselves as tragic or because ultimately every one of us is, one way or the other, a tragic being in this life, if only because of our daily contact with the idea of death.
Every one of us is, one way or the other, a tragic being in this life.— Lena Kitsopoulou
The loneliness of the contemporary individual, when called upon, like Antigone, to make a vital decision, one’s pain when forced, like Creon, to part with one’s child, our own dilemmas, our lost adolescence, our fears concerning God, everything we believe or disbelieve in transforms us on stage into Creons, Antigones, Haemons and occasionally into a homogeneous aggregate, into a ‘chorus’ of the planet, with common phobias and woes. The play attempts to speak about ancient tragedy and the myth of Antigone in particular, in the way they do on TV, where people pontificate about everything, express opinions on every subject and are all conceited, clueless, tragic and alone.
But I think that you can eventually spot ancient tragedy heroes even in the sleaziest TV reality show. It is from this sleazy angle that the play attempts, through a lecture of identically attired people, to present itself as a contemporary ancient tragedy, i.e. as the loneliness of the individuals that attempt in vain to connect to another person, through love, or family or democracy and ultimately these notions are crushed because what always prevails is this huge personal, Ego which relates to nothing. This small dot that every one of is in the universe, this is our lonely planet. Our selves that we all carry like a cross. Which is what Antigone and Creon are.