Although you often hear William Shakespeare’s quote “all the world’s a stage,” few have taken it as literally as Georgeanna Smith, director of NoExit Theatre Company‘s retelling of the classic Greek tragedy Antigone. (If you are not familiar with the story read Katelyn Coyne’s preview.) It is made clear from the start that this version of Antigone is unlike any other spectators have seen in the past. The crowd is lead throughout the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Lilly House and Gardens by a one man chorus skillfully played by Michael Bachman.
Smith told funcityfinder.com that her interpretation will “hopefully give the audience members a new perspective on theatre. We want to show that theatre is not just a building you go to, sit down in and watch a production from a dark room. We really want to engage our audience, and give the feeling that they are an active participant in the show.” After viewing the show it is safe to say that this production of Antigone accomplishes all of these goals and more.
As the chorus, which now includes all spectators, makes its way over to the Lilly Gardens, they are met by the brothers Eteocles and Polynieces who are locked in a fight to the death that they both win and lose. The two brothers, slain be the other’s hand, are played by Kienan Finley and Michael Burke respectively. While these two actors have no lines, they drive home powerful performances with their actions and movement throughout the entire play.
The story’s protagonist Antigone, played by Nicole Gatzimos, leads the audience’s collective feelings throughout the show as if she were a conductor standing in front of an orchestra. Mary Ferguson, who plays the second sister Ismene, adds yet another layer of raw emotion to the show each time she takes the “stage.” Demonstrating complete control of his character, Raphael Schwartzman skillfully portraits Hamon’s life-long love for Antigone. Queen Eurydice, played by funcityfinder.com’s very own Katelyn Coyne, portraits a genuine sweetness we can all recognize in a mother.
This production’s brightest star is no doubt Michael Hosp. Both grand in stature and voice, Hosp’s portrayal of King Creon is spot on from beginning to end. Having to compete with the shear size and grandioseness of the Lilly House grounds is a challenge which Hosp gladly excepts and prevails. Where a lesser actor would have been swallowed up by the surroundings, Michael drives the story with power and poise. Hosp paints a masterful portrait of a man struggling between what he wants to do and what, bound by duty, he feels he has to do.
Near the end of the show, there is an extraordinary exchange between King Creon and Antigone where their emotions and words are their own but their movements are driven by the spirits of the two dead brothers. The exchange plays out like a real-life marionette show and is quite creative. Even though the ending is doomed to be tragic from the start, how the actors bring the audience to that point is both imaginative and engaging.
No matter if you are a lover of theatre, or nature or just something unique, NoExit’s production is without question a must see. Take this opportunity to spend one more night outdoors before the weather forces you inside all winter. It is always a challenge to retell a classic story in a new way. That being said, Georgeanna Smith and her cast give Indianapolis one of the most unique theatre experiences the Circle City has seen in years.
NoExit’s Antigone remaining shows are as follows:
SUNDAY (9/26)- 6:30pm
Ticket Prices are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and IMA members.
For more information on this and future projects check out the NoExit website here.