Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Am Antigone

At the very start of I Am Antigone, Antigone says to us,
I know what you’re thinking. Not her again. We’ve heard enough out of her. The fact is you’ve heard nothing from me at all. It’s not Antigone again. It’s me, Antigone, for the first time. 
She's got a point!

Nicole Ansari, Logan Pitt
Photo: Wai Wing Lau

In I Am Antigone, playwright Saudamini Siegrist calls on her deep experience as an activist, which includes working for UNICEF for over 20 years. She gives us an Antigone who is rooted both in ancient writing and modern times, painfully aware of the progress that hasn't happened.

There is much talent and intelligence in this production of I Am Antigone. Some of the writing is beautiful, and Nicole Ansari is a strong and convincing Antigone (and she has a truly prodigious memory; the play is largely 90 minutes of her talking). The supporting cast acquits itself well. I particularly look forward to following the work of Logan Pitt, a tall, striking, mesmerizing young man with a beautiful voice.

But this Antigone has a few serious problems. First, it is uneven in tone, to the point of fighting against itself. Director Myriam Cyr often makes inappropriately playful use of the chorus, with cutesy posing and face-making. Her direction of Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam as Creon, which I assume was okayed by Siegrist, reduces him to an idiotic cartoon, which also reduces him as an antagonist for Antigone. Second, it gets preachy toward the end. All the parallels to current times are clear. We don't need to have them blatantly explained to us. And last, it is just too long, with too much repetition.

I suspect that a pared-down and more subtle version of I Am Antigone could be the hard-hitting, heartfelt piece it aims to be. But it's not there yet.

Wendy Caster
(third row; press ticket)

No comments: