Antigone, produced by Columbia’s King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe, ran the weekend of October 28th and was a marvelous demonstration of the pure talent on Barnumbia’s campus.
Content Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide.
The plot of Antigone, as produced by the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe, is that Antigone’s two brothers get in a duel and end up killing each other. After the death of both men, Antigone’s uncle, Creon—who takes care of her, her sister, and her brothers—makes it known that Polyneices will not be buried; he will be left out to rot like an animal. This is striking to Antigone; she wants to honor the life of her brother, so she buries him anyway. This causes an immense amount of rage in our good old Creon when he finds out. He then buries Antigone alive. When she is released, she kills herself along with her fiancé, Haeman, who is also her cousin. When Eurydice, the wife of Creon, discovers the death, she slits her own throat. Creon begs for death and wishes that he hadn’t been the reason for which his son, his wife, and his niece died, but he couldn’t change the past.
This was one of the best performances I’ve seen from a college group thus far. Sanidhi Singh’s (CC ’25) performance as Antigone showed what familial love really is. Her love for her brother was so strong she was willing to give her life for it. Her performance was no less than fantastic. Her voice shook and quivered when she talked about the loss of Polyneices, her brother, but was strong and powerful when she spoke back to her uncle. She was the embodiment of female rage. Creon was powerful. Every line Jon Pankauski, SEAS PhD, delivered was full of emotion and rage, to the point where I was gripping my seat in anticipation for what was going to come next.
The most impressive feat of the show was the number of real tears that were produced in the show. Towards the end of the show, Eurydice, played by the lovely Sahmaya Busby (CC ’25), began to cry real tears for the loss of her son and niece. Crying on command is not an easy task, and it was incredibly impressive that she was able to make a single tear drop from her cheek. The best performance came from Reese Alexander (BC ’25), who played Ismene, Antigone’s sister who opposes the burial of Polyneices’ body. Alexander’s demonstration of fear felt so real. The tears dripped down her face onto the floor of the set. You could tell how afraid Ismene really was for her sister and Alexander made that abundantly clear to the audience.
The set of this show was absolutely marvelous. It was clearly a home sometime in the recent past. There were family photos hanging up on the walls of the Glicker Milstein Theater that Creon rips down during the show, and there was a ceiling to represent the top of the burial site of Antigone that comes down during the show. Overall, the technical choices behind the set were incredibly well done.
Additionally, the music for the show was amazing. I left the show and for the next day I had “Delia’s Gone” (which plays at a pivotal moment) stuck in my head. The choice of music for this show beautifully pertained to the show thematically. The technical production of the show was overall incredibly well done. When Antigone is trapped in her burial site, she pounds on the roof as if to be released, and there are sounds of pounding that flood the theater. The timing was amazing and beautifully synchronized.
One troubling element in the show was the placement of red paint, in the end, to demonstrate the blood spilled by the death of Antigone and Haeman. The paint was placed as a handprint over the mouth, which is a symbol used by Indigenous women to protest the violence and murders perpetrated against them. I asked the assistant producer of the show, Maya Shore, where the placement of the red paint was supposed to be, and it was supposed to be located under the chin to demonstrate how she died by hanging herself. I saw the show Saturday night and I wonder where the placement was on the other nights of the show.
Overall, the show was incredibly well done. I loved every second of it. Congratulations to the cast of Antigone and to KCST!
Poster via KCST