Welcome to the new world order


It’s hard out there for a king.

It’s hard out there for a king.

Photo By t brindisi Photography

Antigone, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $15. KOLT Run Creations at the California Stage, 2509 R Street; (916) 454-1500; www.koltruncreations.com. Through May 28.

California Stage

2509 R St.
Sacramento, CA 95816

(916) 451-5822

Rated 5.0

The title character of Oedipus Rex has the woeful fortune of murdering his father and marrying his mother. Somewhat lesser known is the unhappy story of his youngest daughter, Antigone. After the events of Oedipus, she stands unwaveringly for what she believes is right, even when faced with certain death. French author Jean Anouilh took the story of Antigone, the third part of the “Theban Cycle,” and reinterpreted so that the characters are not merely being part of a predetermined tragedy but part of the entire human condition. Every character in the play has their own part in society’s consciousness, and Anouilh used this to criticize tyrants and power-drunk rulers.

KOLT Run Creations decided to use this script, under the direction of company co-founder Lisa Thew, to mirror aspects of our own times, especially worldwide as dictatorships are coming under scrutiny and the common man is poised to overthrow the tyrannical.

Antigone tells how, in the aftermath of Oedipus’ reign, his two sons threw the kingdom into civil war. After the brothers kill one another, King Creon, their uncle, mandates that only one be brought in for burial and the other left to rot. Antigone takes arms against this injustice, and the play begins.

Antigone (Kelley Ogden, also a KOLT Run co-founder) is naively childlike throughout, and is the direct antithesis of Creon (Patrick Murphy), the jaded older adult who thinks he knows everything. At many points, the audience can almost catch a glimpse of a dark Peter Pan vs. Captain Hook as the two verbally duel about the nature of growing up.

The Chorus (Kellie Yvonne Raines) tells us at the very beginning that Antigone will die. Ogden has a perpetual look of wide-eyed fear as she thinks about her impending doom, yet musters the courage to stay on her path as the righteous fighter.

Murphy’s tortured autocrat keeps his footing, and plays it cool even as his downfall lay before him. At one point, he becomes so enraged that he lets out a frustrated howl that fills the theatre.

The set (Nastassya Ferns) is a dismal oubliette, something to keep the audience’s mind on the current state of Thebes. Dark reds and blacks slather the walls with bloody-looking handprints, and a tortured metal sculpture leans callously against the back wall. The costumes (Jessica Minnihan) are spot on, with Antigone in a tattered dress held together with a curtain cord, a perfect opposite to her beautiful sister, Ismene (Analise Langford-Clark). Creon wears a stark business suit perfect for the politician.

Antigone truly is the story of how we all have the power to invoke change. It comes at a cost, but the results are revolutionary. In other versions of the play, Creon’s decisions don’t just mean tragedy within his own family; his decisions mean his downfall as king. Indeed, the production finishes with an awesome montage of pictures of revolutionaries, including recent developments such as the liberation of Egypt.