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Antigone at the Barbican
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10 from votes
Release: 26 April 2015 (UK) /

Antigone at the Barbican

Genre: Drama, HD
Director: Anne Carson,
Stars: , , ,
Synopsis:

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Critic Reviews


Based on a stage production that played the Edinburgh Festival and London's Barbican Theatre (and filmed at the Barbican), Ivo van Hove's revival of ANTIGONE in a new translation by Anne Carson offered a chilling comment on despotism and its consequences.

Played on a largely bare two-leveled set, with a massive illuminated circle at the back of the stage, van Hove concentrated on Kreon's (Patrick O'Kane's) willful rule, as he condemned Antigone (Juliette Binoche) to death for daring to want to bury her brother - whom Kreon had previously declared a traitor. Despite numerous attempts to change his view, notably from his son, Kreon remained firm and by doing so precipitated a cycle of destruction extending far beyond the limits of his mortal rule.

As Antigone, Binoche came across as someone more than willing to place personal feelings above political loyalty, even if it meant a willing acceptance of death. Speaking as much to the audience/ viewers as the other characters, she outlined the reasons for her decision. Her death was performed in ritualized fashion, as she lay on the stage floor and was gradually lowered beneath the stage by means of a trap-door; a repeat of what happened earlier on when the trap-door came up from under the stage to the stage floor, illuminated all the while. Her brother's corpse was not physically present on stage, but the lights signaled its presence.

The illuminated globe at the back of the stage changed in color from a bright yellow sun to the iridescence of the moon, before being completely obscured towards the end. It demonstrated the gods' perpetual presence within the protagonists' lives - despite Kreon's futile attempts to repudiate their authority, they had a final say over his fate.

The back of the stage was also illuminated by black-and-white films of a ruined city, of characters walking aimlessly around and (towads the end), a massive projection of Antigone's body following her death. Through this strategy van Hove suggested that what was taking place was no domestic tragedy but involved the whole of human life past and present. Despots still tread the earth today, and destroy the people in much the same fashion as Kreon.

Perhaps the most startling innovation in this revival was the doubling and trebling of roles, showing that there was no distinction between the Chorus and the characters whose actions they described. This strategy proved that the Chorus was not an arcane convention, but a highly intelligent means of demonstrating what was going on within the protagonists' minds. Their consciences were externalized, so to speak.

In a world apparently riddled with civil wars, where despots continue to rule, often to the detriment of their nations, ANTIGONE seemed highly significant as an analysis of what happens to human beings, should their desire for power get the better of them. Definitely worth looking at more than once.

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