Contact: Jean Dykstra
The stars aligned this semester around Sophocles’ play Antigone.
Incoming first-year students read the text in preparation for the Gallatin Convocation; faculty Kristin Horton and Laura Slatkin are co-teaching a class on the tragedy this fall; and Horton is directing a production of the play that opens on November 2.
Gallatin’s focus on Antigone speaks to its enduring subject matter, according to Horton. “Certain human struggles continue to repeat themselves, and so the play will continue to be relevant,” she said.
Professor George Shulman said Gallatin faculty are interested in exploring themes that Sophocles brings forth in the play, including dissent against the state; notions of what is legitimate and acceptable; and why some deaths are not counted and how that is protested.
Antigone, one of Sophocles’ seven surviving plays, focuses on the heroine’s efforts to secure a respectable burial for her brother even though the law forbids it because he was a traitor to Thebes.
The class co-taught by Horton and Slatkin, “Antigone(s): Ancient Greece / Performance Now,” will focus on understanding of the principles of ancient Greek theater—the use of space, the chorus, the role of the actor—and recognizing how these elements were written into the play. The class also will investigate contemporary versions of the play.
By thoroughly investigating those elements, Horton and Slatkin hope to develop an imaginative response to Antigone– to get inside the play, investigate how it operated and how its conventions worked, as well as how they can be activated for a modern audience.
“The play,” Horton added, “raises questions about an individual’s role in relation to society, questions about allegiance and leadership.”