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Greek Drama's Most Celebrated Woman - Antigone

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10/31/2007

NEW PALTZ -- The powerful tragedy Antigone by Sophocles, in a lyrical translation by David Grene, is the next 2007-2008 season production of the Department of Theatre Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz. This masterpiece of classical theatre is performed November 8-18 in Parker Theatre located on the campus.


Antigone is the story of a young girl with the will to rise up alone against the forces of government, culture, and family to live and die for her beliefs. In this work, Antigone (Larissa Goldberg), daughter of Oedipus, disobeys the orders of Creon (Mary Hunt), King of Thebes, who forbids the burial of her brother Polyneices, a traitor to the city. After Antigone buries Polyneices, Creon condemns her to death and has her buried alive in a cave. Though warned by the prophet Tiresias (Jessica Ritacco) that his act will have terrible consequences, Creon initially stands by his decree. Creon eventually yields and decides to free Antigone but he arrives at the cave too late – Antigone has hanged herself and is already dead. Creon’s son, Haemon (Sarah Joyce), who has been engaged to marry Antigone, is enraged at his father’s actions and kills himself as well. Creon’s wife Eurydice (Lauren Tyrrell) stricken with grief commits suicide. King Creon has now lost everything.

Paul Kassel, an associate professor of theatre arts who specializes in performance, directs this production. In an innovative approach to the play, Kassel has directed the show with a cast composed entirely of women. According to Kassel, “Originally, plays in ancient Greece were performed by men. Like Kabuki and Elizabethan theatre, men played all the parts, male and female. This was determined not by theatrical considerations, but rather by the socio/political climate of the dominate power. Women were prohibited from performing in plays in these cultures. This poses interesting challenges for contemporary producers of these types of plays.” He adds that, “The only reason to perform Antigone is because it speaks to the very core of what it means to live in this world today. Although the play is concerned with mythological events of long ago, the play remains fresh and relevant because at its essence Antigone deals with questions that are timeless. Who am I? Why am I? What must I do?”

The production features original music, created by student composer and sound designer, Brian Waite. The music is used throughout the performance, and in the odes female cast members bring the chorus to life through poetry, song, and movement.

Antigone will be performed November 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17 at 8 p.m.. Matinee performances on November 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 general reserved, $14 reserved seniors/staff/student. To purchase tickets call the Box Office at (845) 257-3880 Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., or visit the web at www.newpaltz.edu/artsnews

The State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 7,800 undergraduate and graduate students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley between New York City and Albany. New Paltz was named "Hottest Small State School" in the 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek How To Get Into College Guide, which identifies America's 25 Hottest Schools. The guide features schools that all offer top academic programs and are making their mark in the competitive world of higher education.

The college was also recently ranked 7th among the best public universities and 38th among public and private universities in the North that offer bachelor's and master's degree programs, according to the U.S. News & World Report's rankings for America's Best Colleges 2008.

Degrees are offered in the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, healthcare, business and engineering