Ancient show has timeless message

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Antigone shows that the line between heroes and villains isn't always clear, a theme that resonates today, more than 2,000 years after Sophocles wrote it. The Aiken Community Playhouse Youth Wing will stage George Judy's adaptation beginning Friday.

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The Aiken Community Playhouse Youth Wing will bring Sophocles' Antigone to life with five shows.   JACOB ELLIS/SPECIAL
JACOB ELLIS/SPECIAL
The Aiken Community Playhouse Youth Wing will bring Sophocles' Antigone to life with five shows.

"I think the cast likes that the play raises questions without answering them," said director Nancy Gamba Hansen. "Is it more important to be right, or to resolve different viewpoints? Is an orderly state more important than individual lives? Big questions -- and absolutely ones we should be discussing today. "

Stephen Ateca, who plays the Senator, agrees. "The themes in this play are relevant 500 years ago, 50 years ago and today."

"I don't think it matters how old the play is," said Lucy Sue Herron, who plays Antigone. "The characters are so real that it's really quite timeless. The language and the general beliefs and the clothes may have changed dramatically, but the basic instincts, trials, sorrows and angst that all people go through doesn't."

Though the show is traditional Greek theater, the costumes and set are all modern. Still, the language is the way Sophocles wrote it about 442 BC.

"It's not necessarily harder, but it is a challenge. The style of acting is different than a more modern play," Ateca said.

Part of that difference is the chorus, which is not in the background as most modern choruses are.

"The chorus functions as another character -- it moves the story along, gives us insight into the characters and keeps the audience alert to the big picture," Hansen said.

The big picture can be a challenge to actors. "It's not just trying to find a character and portray that character; you have to keep in mind the whole time that there is a grand message trying to be conveyed," Herron said.

Audiences shouldn't be intimidated by the prospect of ancient Greek theater, Hansen said.

"I think audiences will be moved by the poignancy of the situation in which the characters find themselves trapped."

Sophocles' 'Antigone'

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Nov. 19 and 20; 3 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Bechtel Experimental Theater, URS Center for the Performing Arts, 126 Newberry St. SW, Aiken

TICKETS: $10 adults, $7 students; (803) 648-1438, www.aikencommunityplayhouse.com


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