Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, May 25

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« CUBE Ensemble: Faces of Eurydice @ The Flat Iron Arts Building Hubbard Street Dance Spring Series Takes the Stage This Weekend »

Theater Tue Mar 10 2015

Sideshow Theatre Gives New Meaning to Non-Classic Antigonick

Photo by Jonathan L. Green.

Time and measurement are of the essence in Sideshow Theatre's new production of Anne Carson's Antigonick, described as freely translated from Sophocles' original Antigone. Throughout the 75-minute production, a mute character named Nick (David Lawrence Hamilton) is on stage, by turns taking measurements with a tape, keeping time with a metronome and taping up information sheets that enumerate the dead. Nick is constantly busy.

Carson's translation, or reimagining, is witty and colloquial with clever wordplay and literary allusions. (Kreon announces his nouns and verbs for the day. We're asked, What is a nick of time?) Antigonick moves along briskly, allowing us little time to ponder the questions of morality vs. patriotism that it presents. But those are the ideas that the play will leave you with, ideas that resonate and trouble today as much as they did millennia ago.

The play follows the plot and theme of the classic version. Antigone, daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta (his mother and wife, you will remember), learns that her brothers Eteokles and Polyneikes killed each other in battle. But Eteokles died a hero fighting for his own country and thus will be buried with honors, while Polyneikes fought with the Argives and his body will be allowed to "lie unwept and unburied," according to the edict of Kreon, king of Thebes. Antigone refuses to abide by this edict, and tries to enlist the help of her sister Ismene.

Ismene reminds her of the tragic history of their family. "Wherever we are, think, Sister -- father's daughter. Daughter's brother. Sister's mother. Mother's son. His mother and his wife were one. Our family is double, triple degraded and dirty in every direction. Moreover, we two are alone and we are girls. Girls cannot force their way against men." And Antigone responds, "Yet I will."

You'll notice that the actors performing the roles above are not credited in the above plot description. That's because each role is double-cast, and in fact, the entire play is performed twice, by two different casts, with plenty of gender-bending casting choices. Only the first cast is credited in the playbill, and so the audience is surprised when, after what seems like a last word from Choragos (the Chorus), we realize we're hearing the entire dialogue from the beginning, but spoken by different actors. The first words of the play are our clue, 40 minutes in:

Antigone: We begin in the dark and birth is the death of us.
Ismene: Who said that?
Antigone: Hegel.
Ismene: Sounds more like Beckett.

Antigone: He was paraphrasing Hegel.

Virginia Woolf and Bertolt Brecht are name-checked too.

Jonathan L. Green's direction maintains the beat of the metronome and measures out the tragedies that befall the family in both versions. Yu Shibagaki's minimalist stage design is practical for the small space, with sidewalls suggesting a skateboard park. A large portrait of Oedipus, in a uniform that would have suited a South American general, looms ominously over the stage. Noel Huntzinger's costume choices are contemporary but work timelessly.

The acting is very strong throughout the story. Ann James is a powerful Kreon and then a sad but determined Antigone. Anu Bhatt is a fine Antigone and later an eloquent Choragos. Lona Livingston is first Choragos and later Teiresias, the blind prophet. Eleni Pappageorge plays both Ismene and a guard. Kreon's wife, Eurydike, has one important speech, which is performed well by both David Prete and Maritza Cervantes.

Playwright Carson is a Canadian poet and classics professor. She was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship or "genius" grant in 2000. The script itself is a minor work of art in graphic novel form. The entire text is handlettered and full-page line drawings are colorized in watercolor or pastel tones.

Sideshow Theatre will present Antigonick at Victory Gardens' Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., through April 5. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets for $20-30 can be bought online or by calling 773-871-3000.

GB store
GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15