Former Cincinnati in the Park Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern Directs ANTIGONE (BORN AGAINST.) at Xavier University, Nov. 30-Dec. 2

XU_Antigone born against logo(CINCINNATI, Nov. 19, 2018) – A classic story with a contemporary twist rounds out Xavier University Theatre’s fall production lineup as former Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern returns to helm ANTIGONE (BORN AGAINST.) The Sophocles classic is reborn in a new translation and adaptation by Griff Bludworth, a Xavier Theatre alumnus, running Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in the Gallagher Student Center Theatre.

ANTIGONE (BORN AGAINST.) places the contemporary issue of oppression front and center as its classical figures become recognizably human. When Antigone’s two brothers are killed in battle, Creon — her uncle and the king — permits one a proper funeral. Believing the other a traitor, he refuses to allow him to be buried, setting into motion a clash between justice and discrimination that is at once timeless and horrifically timely.

“The relationship of grief and power is integral to both my understanding of Sophocles’ original play and my adaptation,” says Bludworth. “Grieving is an incredibly human experience — it is a grappling with sudden absence, a crashing realization of how much we once had and a confrontation with our own finitude. Grief is not pleasant, but it is something we need to go through when faced with loss. Grief is the public acknowledgement that a life had significance to others. It is a privilege we take for granted.

“Grief is also a potent political power, and communal grief can be threatening to established power structures, especially when the person being grieved was killed by an agent endowed with state authority. In this sort of environment — either in 2018 A.D. or 450 B.C. — simple statements regarding lives having value become political and can express implicit challenges to power. This tension is nothing new, and the dehumanizing effects of prohibiting grief have been documented in literature since before Sophocles’ lifetime. It is, ultimately, the exhausting repetition of this dehumanization — how fresh and how old the wound feels — that I wanted to bring to the fore.”

“I first saw the show a couple of years ago as the intern production at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, and I was very much taken by the play,” Stern says. “As written on paper, it goes between the Greek period and today, moving seamlessly between the two. The result is quite compelling.”

The cast for the show features Xavier alumna Hannah Sheppard as Antigone. She’ll join current students Max Carlson (Haemon), Aiden Dalton (Creon), Cassie Delicath (Corrine), Andrew Leonard (Tiresias), Sam Martini (Captain Phillips), Annie Mayer (Angela), Cat Sholtis (Woman 2), Holland Taylor (Ismene), Thomas Wehby (Man 1) and Nora Weisz (Woman 1). Kertu Bell is the understudy for Antigone, and Tess Chadwick is the swing.

In addition to Stern, the creative team includes Joe Leonard (Set Designer), Jessica Pitcairn (Costume Designer), Joe Beumer (Lighting Designer) and Kevin Semancik (Sound Designer). The stage manager is Abby Bricking. Assistant stage managers are Steven Lindner and Trever McKenzie.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 1 and 2. Tickets for ANTIGONE (BORN AGAINST.) are available now through the Xavier University Theatre Box Office. They are $18 each for adults and $13 each for students, as well as Xavier faculty and staff. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.xavier.edu/theatretickets or call 513-745-3939.

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