Thursday Think Tank: Antigone Choral Movements

The MET‘s next mainstage show, our adaptation of Antigone, is in the midst of rehearsals.  We’ve recorded in rehearsal a movement section for you that embodies the conflicting emotions and inner chaos of Antigone’s return home:

In ancient Greek plays, there is usually a chorus present, which serves as a guide, narrator, or mouthpiece for the audience.  In most cases, the chorus serves all three purposes: setting the scene, telling the story, and commenting on the themes of the play.  Each member of the chorus in the MET’s Antigone speaks as a different perspective of Antigone’s actions.  Ranging from cool, practical realists to passionate, impulsive idealists, the choral members either support or oppose Antigone based on their personal worldview and their relationship with her.

Director Julie Herber* uses the chorus to help communicate the story of Antigone through movement as well as words.  The chorus all at once can represent the emotions churning inside Antigone and on a dime switch to portraying the reactions of the world around her.  The cast experimented with a pulsing movement, as seen in the video above, paired with dissonant vocals to help communicate the imbalance and despair Antigone faces after learning of her brothers’ unexpected deaths and her uncle’s unjust law.

Click to view videoSimilar to previous MET shows that have included a chorus (or ensemble) of sorts, the movement work in Antigone seeks to include the audience and involve them emotionally in the moments that unfold in the play.  This can be considered a direct link to ancient Greek theatre, where performers had to use large movements from the orchestra, or “dancing place”, to get across a story to a crowd filling a theatron, or “seeing place.”  As these theatrons would hold 12,000+ people and stretch back 50 rows or more, the performers in the orchestra would appear very tiny, such that huge movements and loud, intense vocals were necessary to get the story to reach the audience in the nosebleed seats.  It is this basic concept that has made classic Greek plays so challenging and rewarding to perform.

Suffice to say, the emotional intensity of Antigone is growing more palpable with each rehearsal; and we’re thrilled to bring you this classic story in a new, exciting way.

Antigone runs March 22nd – April 15th, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, with Sunday evening performances at 7pm on 3/25 & 4/15, and a Sunday 2pm matinee on 4/1.  Tickets can be purchased online, or by phone through the MET box office at 301-694-4744.