ANTIGONE: ou les responsabilités de l’honneur, Fall 2012
Isaacs Auditorium, Seibert Hall
Monday, Nov. 12, 2012
12:15 and 7:15 p.m.
Presented by the class of French 301
Directed by Dorothée Polanz
Antigone is a story of rebellion, personal engagement and fighting for what one believes in.
Antigone and Ismène are two sisters, two princesses. Their father, Oedipe, died and now the town lives under their uncle's rule. King Créon unwillingly took power because "someone has to do it." Antigone is engaged to his son, Hémon. Créon is trying to bring some peace after all the wars and events during which Antigone’s brothers, Etéocle and Polynice, killed each other for succession reasons. Etéocle has been judged by Créon as the “good son” and has been offered beautiful ceremony for his burial, while Polynice should only be remembered as “the bad one, the traitor”. Créon created a law punishing of death everyone who shall intend to give Polynice a proper burial. During the whole play, Antigone defends her position to "say no and die," turning her back to her family, love and life. The chorus guides the audience as Antigone meets with her nanny, her sister, her fiancée, her uncle and the power in place. In this chess game, audience members see that the limits of what is right and what is wrong are anything but clear.
The text we used was a shortened version of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone written in 1943, during German occupation of France. For Anouilh, Antigone was a metaphor for resistance, while Creon was perceived as a collaborationist. I already staged Antigone in France, and I keep coming back to this play because it is very plastic and intemporal. We can add or remove parts, the heart of the question remains: Is one life better than another? Should we fight for our ideas to the point of death? Can one single person change a law or what a society believes in? We will continue to reflect on these questions that were inspired to us by the 2012-13 university theme of “Freedom and Responsibility.”
Dorothée Polanz, Ph.D., stage director
Of French and German descendant, Dorothée Polanz has taught theatre at the University of Maryland, Catholic University and Georgetown University in the last nine years. She is a member of the company “SapassoussakasS“ (“Do or Die”) in Washington, D.C., where she plays the role of Leandre in “parades” (18th-century fairground theatre comedies) and has been acting for 15 years. Her acting style is mostly based on commedia del’arte and masks. She worked intensely on Grand Guignol and cabaret style as well as with puppets. She recently created the role of Colette, the French writer in the play Music-Hall Sidelights. As a director and a stage manager, she has been working in Québec, France, Tunisia, Switzerland and the United States with professional actors and beginners. She defended her dissertation Theatricality: Critical Analysis of a Notion through Three Media and Centuries: Eighteenth Century Libertine Novels, Nineteenth Century Orientalist Paintings and Renoir’s Movies at University of Maryland in 2010. She is thrilled to be working with the wonderful team at the modern languages department and look forward to be teaching her seminar next semester, The Birth of Music-Hall in France.
Habi Diop, modern language fellow, assistant stage manager
Habi Diop is a Fulbright Modern Language Fellow from Paris. She has studied at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilization) of Paris and received her bachelor's degree in African languages and literature. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in intercultural communication in her home country.
Diop has been working for one year as a French teacher within the French Red Cross Army. She had the opportunity to teach her language to foreign people and to meet people from all around the world. Habi took Senegalese traditional dance ‘sabar’ in the Momboye Center in Paris. She perfomed in an annual show in ‘La Villette in Paris, France. In her spare time, Habi enjoys reading, cooking and dancing.