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Antigone, the musical, closes Tanghalang Ateneo’s Greek season
Tanghalang Ateneo caps off its 35th season, “Re-imagining the Greeks”, with Floy Quintos’ Break Away Antigone. Based on Sophocles’ classic play, the production revisits the tragic story of Oedipus’ daughter, Antigone, who defies a King’s edict by burying a brother deemed an enemy of the State. It is a tale set in a city devastated by war, now under martial rule, and played out as a musical with songs that span different genres -- Broadway, Alternative, Pop and Rock.
Eminent sportscaster and columnist Bill Velasco returns to the Ateneo stage after more than 25 years and joins the cast as Oedipus, who in Sophocles’ plays unknowingly marries his mother, Yocasta. His two sons, Eteokles and Polynikes, battle each other for the throne and in combat slay each other. Creon (Brian Sy; Tarek El Tayech) takes over as King.
Keen to impose law and order amidst the chaos of a civil war, Creon issues an edict that gives the loyal Eteokles an honorable burial while Polynikes, who sided with an opposing army, is left to rot on the battlefield. Antigone (Laura Cabochan, Opaline Santos), sister to the slain brothers, witness the funeral procession honoring Eteokles, agonizing not for the Theban hero but for Polynikes, the brother she passionately loves. Grief turns to thoughts of an escape, a break away from Thebes, but not before Antigone can bury Polynikes as is expected by custom. But Creon, Antigone’s uncle, has decreed that anyone who buries Polynikes will be sentenced to death.
Antigone enlists the aid of her sister, Ismene, and Creon’s only son, Haemon to bury Polynikes. Neither one agrees. Antigone then approaches the blind prophet, Tiresias, who advises Antigone to do as she wishes. Alone, Antigone stalks into the night to bury her brother on the battlefield. There she encounters the ghosts of Oedipus and her family members, all of whom seek Antigone’s forgiveness for putting her life on the line. They also advise Antigone to flee and not to risk death. But Antigone is steadfast: she forgives her family and continues her private burial rites. But the King’s soldiers catch her in the act and bring her to face Creon.
Antigone defends her act, supported by pleas from Ismene, Haemon, and Tiresias. But Creon is unmoved. He sentences Antigone to death believing that state law should supersede family traditions. Antigone dies entombed in a cave, leaving Creon unimpeded to continue the dirty work of governance.
Ricardo Abad directs the production designed by Gino Gonzales using post-typhoon images and camouflage patterns. Ceejay Javier and William Manzano serve a fusion of songs drawn from different musical genres. Phillip Pamintuan choreographs contemporary moves, and Meliton Roxas, Jr. creates a lights design that plays with fire and shadows.
Break Away Antigone runs from February 6-8, 11-15, and 18-22 at 7 PM, with 2 PM shows on February 8, 15 and 22 (Saturdays) at the Rizal Mini-Theater, Ateneo de Manila University. For inquiries and reservations, contact Gel Basa at 0917-630-9097.
The production is staged in cooperation with the Ateneo’s Fine Arts Program and the Performing Arts Cluster and in partnership with Sindikato, Kalatas, ClicktheCity.com and WhenInManila.com. It is co-presented by Smart Communications and Intermatrix Document Solutions Incorporated and sponsored by Jollibee Foods Corporation, First Life Financial Co., Inc. and Emerald Headway Distributors Inc.