Politics and family dysfunction, an act of defiance and a blind prophet who sees and knows almost all are at the heart of Sophocles’ Antigone, now on stage at Big Idea Theatre. It’s a complicated tale made simple and straightforward by director Gail Dartez and her cast. As The New York Times once posited about Greek tragedy, it “has always been take-no-prisoners theater.” That couldn’t be truer than in the case of Antigone.
In Greek mythology, Antigone (Carissa Meagher) is both the daughter and sister of the mother-loving Oedipus, whose sons Polynices and Eteocles agreed to share governorship of Thebes after their father’s death. But a family feud (Eteocles didn’t want to share) results in both brothers being killed and King Creon (a solid Scott Divine) assuming the throne.
Creon orders that Eteocles will be given a hero’s burial while Polynices will not be buried or mourned, but will lie uncovered to become carrion for predators. Antigone, however, believing that the gods would not want such infamy for her brother, vows to bury him herself. She knows that she will be put to death if caught, which, of course, she is.
Family dynamics rise up again (Creon’s son wanted to marry Antigone and Creon’s wife says “I told you so” about the death edict), and blind prophet Tiresias (Maggie Upton) predicts hard times all around. Since nearly everyone ends up dead, I’d say she was right. Greek tragedy. Take no prisoners, indeed.