By Julianne Mosher
Theater students at Suffolk County Community College in Selden are bringing a new perspective to an Ancient Greek tragedy with Antigone Now. The powerful show will be presented in Theatre 119 through Oct. 15.
Set on an empty, somber stage with just a staircase and bullet hole panels decorating the walls, Antigone Now is a modern look at one of Sophocles’ earliest surviving plays, Antigone. The hour-long, one act play follows Antigone (Angie Barrientos), a once royal whose brothers and parents are killed amidst war.
Her sister, Ismene (Ke’Ashma Simpkins), tries to block out the noise of the gun shots and bombings while Antigone desires to find her brother, Polyneices (Jeremy Bazata) who is fighting against the war and deemed a traitor. But when she does, she learns she needs to bury him as he bleeds dead in the street. In order to give him a proper burial and protect his honor, she must break the law under the new leadership of her uncle, Creon (Gabriel Patrascu).
Based “anytime and anywhere that war is raging,” we follow the troupe of five through the heartbreak and anger they are feeling. With the assistance of the narrator and ensemble member, Meredith Reed, we are taken to Ismene’s home where she tries to console the young and ambitious Antigone, the palace where Creon reigns and a dungeon where one sits awaiting their fate after doing what’s best for their family, but in turn, also becomes a traitor.
Performances by Barrientos, Simpkins, Bazata, Patrascu and Reed are beyond phenomenal. For students just beginning to make their mark in the world of theatre and entertainment, they certainly act as though they have been on Broadway for years all with the help and leadership of director Steven Lantz-Gefroh.
Originally written by Melissa Cooper, the local performances are raw and full of emotion. Despite a play filled with destruction and devastation, there’s a meaning beneath it all like the rubble in the show’s setting.
We get to know each character. Reed’s narrator is strong with storytelling that helps the audience understand where we are. Patrascu’s Creon is the perfect epidemy of a politician with the voice and look to match. We feel Simpkins’ Ismene, who has a broken heart, and cries real tears, with so much love that she just wants to fix and protect everyone who is left in her life. Bazata’s Polyneices says not one word, but his body language and stature on stage make him a focal point in the production. And of course, Barrientos’ Antigone, the titular character, whose rebellious personality, and defiance show us that there is nothing over family and that often-subdued women will do whatever it takes to protect their honor.
Antigone Now is the perfect specimen of tragedy. The modern spin on it is relatable to most in the crowd and it is a beautifully crafted, thought-provoking presentation of a long-told tale that still holds true today.
You won’t want to miss this one.
The Theatres at Suffolk County Community College present Antigone Now in Theatre 119, Islip Arts Building Suffolk County Community College, 533 College Road, Selden on Oct. 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. *Mature Content. General admission is $15, veterans and students 16 years of age or younger $10. SCCC students with current ID are offered one free ticket. To order, please call the box office at 631-451-4163.