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It’s Never Too Late
It’s Never Too Late
February 12, 2024

Antigone Now: SCCC Presents a Modern Retelling of an Old Greek Tragedy

Photo+Courtesy%3A+Suffolk+County+Community+College+Department+of+Theatre+Arts
Photo Courtesy: Suffolk County Community College Department of Theatre Arts

A soundscape of machine gun fire enveloped Theatre 119 as the audience entered on a cool Thursday night on Oct. 13. I entered the theater to be greeted by this cacophony of modern warfare as the stage stood before me, projections of clouds of black smoke floating along walls riddled with bullet holes that wrapped around the stage, which was sparsely decorated with a bare set of two elevated platforms. Like many black box productions, much of the visuals for the next hour would take place within the theater of the mind as the talented cast, directed gracefully by Steven Lantz Grefoh, would bring to life an ancient Greek tragedy that still hits as hard now as it did more than 2000 years ago.

The show was Antigone Now, a one act reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone by Melissa Cooper. With the city of Thebes moved from ancient Greece to “anytime and anywhere that war is raging,” Antigone shows us a city crawling out of the ashes of war, where the youngest daughter of the late king Oedipus risks death and defies the law to bury her brother, who had fallen in the war of succession. Played with gut wrenching emotion by Angie Barrientos in her SCCC debut, the audience is immersed into Antigone’s story as she throws away her life for her love of the people she lost, defying the draconian laws of her uncle, Creon. This war hardened king is played strongly and stoically with remarkable skill by Gabriel Patrascu.

Antigone and Creon’s battle between what is right and what is law is propped up by the strong performances of the supporting cast. Meredith Reed’s Chorus plays the role of one of Creon’s officers who delivers powerful moments of dialogue with both leads. Ke’Ashma Simpkins also elevates the story and expands upon its themes as Antigone’s sister Ismene, a survivor desperate to leave the past in the past and live while trying to convince her sister to do the same. While Reed and Simpkins strike a chord with the powerful and emotional delivery of their dialogue, Jeremy Bazata delivers a strong, silent performance as the spirit of the fallen brother Polyneices, whose masterfully directed and performed sequences with Barrientos’ Antigone make for some of the show’s strongest highlights, conveying a tremendous amount of emotion without a single word. 

On a visual and technical level, light board operator Sophie Sejarto and sound board operator Christian Gonzalez add to the intensity with expertly placed effects. The climax grows red hot emotionally and visually as the walls begin to glow around the cast with a hissing heat, and the simulated sounds of war are both haunting and deafening. 

The cast and crew of Antigone Now have done a masterful job breathing new life into this old story, expertly carrying the story’s weight and deftly delivering its still all to relevant themes and ideas. Heavy, haunting, and heartbreaking, Antigone Now is a production for the college to take pride in, and a brilliant showcase for the talent of everyone involved.

 

 

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