Thursday Think Tank: Antigone Closing Thoughts

Our original adaptation of ANTIGONE by Reiner Prochaska* is coming to a close this weekend.  It’s been an incredible run, and in honor of this process, we have some final reflective thoughts from director Julie Herber*:

Looking back at the first rehearsal/read and seeing the show come to a close, what has changed for you (i.e. in terms of your vision, the performance, is it what you expected/has it changed?)
Watching the show now, I am struck with…and pleased with how clear the through line of the original story is. That was my main concern from the start. Will we (the audience) be able to allow our brains to adjust to a new surrounding or environment and still remain connected to Antigone’s struggle? The Uncle’s struggle? So it’s not so much of what has changed…but what has become clearer and more specific. There were of course elements of the show that changed along the way to make that happen. Entire scenes were cut significantly or completely to help the audience organize it’s thoughts. And the live music was added much later in the process. It’s presence added so much to the life of the show.

Can you talk about your directorial choices in this piece: classic Greek plays can lend themselves to stylization and melodrama, what choices did you make/what were your goals in terms of the overall feel of this show, performance-wise?
I definitely wanted to start with elements of classic greek theatrical staging. It was important for me to honor the original work while still trying to explore it through contemporary eyes. I really wanted the story, which is quite timeless, to feel like it was part of the ruins that you see onstage. So, using the entire space and creating the environments that the actors needed with the existing set was important. I felt like it didn’t need any bells and whistles because the story is so strong and the characters were equally compelling. And, at the same time, we have these bits of modern technology that are always present and able to contribute and aid the story.

When conceiving of the show with Reiner, what was the most important aspect you wished to communicate to an audience? How did you achieve this and do you feel the audience is responding to it?
 Again, it was most important to me as I worked with Reiner to keep the story line the top priority and the solidify and clarify Antigone’s journey.

What challenges did you face in your direction/writing of this show?
 It’s always an exciting challenge working on an original piece. But none of the challenges were ever disheartening or threatening. They were always exciting!

What was your favorite part of this process; what was most satisfying to you?
My favorite part was working with the ensemble in creating the choral sections. The actors were always there 100 % and totally committed. It was a thrill putting the separate scenes together after working with them in an isolated manner. Each scene is like a separate play in itself. When we finally did put them all together…it was like….”Wow! There’s the story!”

Five words to describe what working on this show has been like:
Exhilarating, challenging, eye-opening, episodic, proud.
 

ANTIGONE closes this Sunday, April 15th.  Four performances remain: Thursday through Saturday, all at 8pm, and Sunday at 7pm.  For tickets, call the MET box office at 301-694-4744 or order online!  We hope you’ll join us for this compelling, thought-provoking experience.

* – indicates MET company member