For 22 days in March, dystopia is coming to the Outcalt Theatre at Cleveland Play House.
Running from March 5-27, Cleveland Play House will be hosting Antigone (pronounced “an-ti-gah-nee”), a contemporary play that follows Antigone through a war-torn dystopian near-future. Despite being the niece of Creon, the newly appointed leader, Antigone doesn't agree with Creon's archaic laws, leading to a clash between age and youth.
The production will be two years in the making for CPH, as the show was shut down in March of 2020 during the second week of rehearsals.
“This play, when we were rehearsing it two years ago, felt electric. It really felt like it was going to be one of those outstanding performances and productions,” says artistic director Laura Kepley. “Shutting it down was crushing and heartbreaking because I saw the potential of how great it was going to be.”
Before you take a trip into a not-so-fun future, here’s what you need to know.
The show’s themes are relevant to today’s society.
Even though the show is a contemporary twist on a Greek tragedy, it also deals with modern issues and themes. There are conflicts between an older “law and order” generation and a younger new order generation, along with trepidation surrounding women in power.
“In a moment of crisis, the best course of action is to listen, slow down, breathe and realize it’s okay to change direction,” Kepley says. “I think that’s the big takeaway, that change is possible. But change is only possible when we’re listening to multiple voices.”
The cast is Cleveland through and through.
Antigone’s Cleveland roots start at the top with Mariah Burks, the Antigone actor who is a Cleveland native and a graduate of CPH's MFA acting programing co-run through Case Western Reserve University.
Additionally, the entire CPH/CWRU MFA class of 2022 appears in the performance, playing everything from key cast members to chorus members.
The play is led by women.
Along with having a female director in Lauren Keating, all of Antigone’s design was done by women. The play’s main roles of Antigone (Burks) and Creon (Vanessa Morosco) are also played by women. Morosco's casting stands out the most, as Creon is traditionally played by a male.
“We really wanted to look at leadership. Lauren Keating wanted to particularly look at what happens when a woman goes into a job. And in this case, we wanted to see what happens when a woman goes into a role that has always been held by a man and what is it to ask a woman to govern as a man,” Kepely says.