Director Dylan Tate-Howarth’s vision for her production of Anouilh’s Antigone is strong and well executed. Accompanying a script that is hyper aware of its identity as a play are many other director’s tools, used to strip away the suspension of disbelief and force audience members to accept that they are watching a performance. While many of the unconventional tactics used by Tate-Howarth had the potential to be hokey, distracting and ultimately detract from the production, they were gracefully employed to create an engaging and thoughtful show. Her use of puppetry, a visible backstage and intriguing projection came together to create a cohesive environment for actors in a play with deliberately ambiguous context and location that might unsettle another cast and crew.
The performances given by the cast of Antigone started strong with Madeline Leon as a captivating Prologue/Chorus. She succeeded in immediately drawing the audience into the story. Lillian Ross-Millard proves in the opening scene that she is capable of holding her own in a titular role and sustaining the power throughout the entire show. She never, however, upstages or steals a scene. This is an unselfish cast who give and take beautifully, supporting each other wholly like a family, unlike the dysfunctional one they portray so deftly. The various complex relationships portrayed on stage by Ross-Millard, Christine Wilson as her sister Ismene, Thomas McCullough as their uncle Creon and Jeremy Foote as his son Haemon are sincere and believable. Much needed comic relief is provided by Alexander Robertson Mercer as the first guard. Every aspect of the play manages to support the themes or vision Tate-Howarth is putting forth.
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The costumes were the perfect finishing touch on the production. A combination of beautiful fit, colour and characterization rivalled professional companies. These, along with gorgeous hair and elegant set create a cohesive as well as visually stunning production.
Antigone concludes its run tonight, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. in the Pit.