Antigone by Unionville High School in Kennett Square, PA
November 16, 2016
Review submitted by Jane Mentzinger of Westtown School
Unionville’s almost entirely student run production of Antigone took 2,500-year-old material and made it exciting, accessible, and highly relevant. Strong acting, brilliant creativity, and amazing tech work transformed Sophocles from long-dead Greek poet to present day political commentator. The audience was riveted.
Antigone, by Sophocles, is an ancient Greek tragedy. It tells the story of Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus. Antigone’s brothers Eteocles and Polynieces kill each other while leading opposing sides in a civil war. Creon, the new king, declares that Polynieces will remain unburied; he will be devoured by wild animals and publically shamed. Antigone buries her brother in defiance of Creon’s orders, and she incurs Creon’s wrath.
Unionville’s production had everything, from a huge, elaborate set to period costumes that sparkled. The actors even spoke some lines in Greek, with subtitles projected for the audience, a particularly effective and innovative touch that heightened the power of the material. Throughout the play, Creon’s costume and the entire set slowly deteriorated, symbolizing the devastating effect of his decisions, showing the unity between acting and tech.
Alex Kallis, as Creon, artfully played a man who slowly lost everything. He drew us into his growing desperation, making himself smaller and smaller as he transformed from all-powerful leader to a man without family, money, or country. Ashwin Akki portrayed Haemon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiancé; he and Kallis gave a highly charged depiction of a broken father-son relationship. Suchi Jain played Antigone, the moral center of the play, and she inspired the audience with her rebellious nature and strong attitude.
The Chorus, a group that comments on the action, worked in near perfect unison. Their movements, perfectly choreographed by Cameron Cofrancesco, evoked Greek statues and made the scenes visually thrilling. Choragos 1 and 2, played by Giselle Wagner and David Demarco respectively, proved remarkably powerful choral leaders.
The technical elements in the show were phenomenal. The set, designed by Megan Belgam and Victoria Vaughn, was incredibly detailed and well constructed. The costumes, designed and made by Marina Khazana, were beautiful and symbolic. The lighting, designed by Christopher Gehrke, was used to create both deceptively simple and highly complex effects, and was a huge element in the show’s success.
With lines like, “I was born to love, not to hate,” and “I plan to make this city great,” Unionville made ancient Greek tragedy modern and relevant.
Review submitted by India Henderson of Westtown School
Close your eyes. You hear original music and students speaking in fluent Greek. Now open your eyes. You see colorful lighting, an outstanding set – authentic-looking Greek architecture – and actors who are ready to do their best work. You are watching Unionville High School’s production of Antigone.
In this Greek tragedy, written by Sophocles around 441 BC, we learn the story of Antigone, whose brothers, Eteocles and Polynieces, were killed by each other’s swords in battle. Eteocles has died nobly, according to Creon, the King of Thebes, and deserves a proper burial, while Polynieces is left without burial for the dogs and birds to devour. Although Creon pronounces that burying Polynieces is punishable by death, Antigone is ready to die in order to ensure that she and her brother can live a triumphant afterlife.
It cannot go without being said the greatness of this show came from the impressive amount of student work and involvement. Students created everything – from lighting, to props, to the set, to costumes, to music. Additionally, something that stood out was the engaging energy of this cast. Their lines were spoken with conviction and their movements were always strong and intentional.
There were many standout performances, such as Suchi Jain (Antigone) who wowed the audience with her powerful voice and magnificent Greek skills. She flowed in and out of the language effortlessly. Ashwin Akki (Haemon) and Kenneth Kim (Teiresias/Damocles) matched Jain’s language ability and kept the audience on the edge of their seats with their authenticity and power.
Similarly, Alex Kallis (Creon) had great timing and a range of emotions that very clearly reflected the action happening in the play. Other noteworthy performances came from Giselle Wagner (Choragos 1), David Demarco (Choragos 2), Varshika Mandalupu (Narrator 1) and Mark Jankowski (Narrator 2) who all delivered their lines with clarity and grace.
The technical aspects of this performance were stunning. Firstly, the set appropriately created a tone for each scene as it symbolically began to crumble as Creon’s illusion of himself did as well. Additionally, the costumes, designed and made by one student, Mariana Khazana, complemented the acting and set appropriately. The music, composed by Eric Folmar solely for this show, was catchy, original. Lastly, kudos to the UHS crew for their speedy and smooth transitions that were unnoticeable throughout the show.
Overall, it is clear that Unionville High School’s cast and crew all carried their weight and worked equally in order to help the play reach its fullest potential.