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Greek tragedy ‘Antigone’ debuts at Theatre MSU

October 9, 2012

By MATT CRANE
life@starkvilledailynews.com

The tragedy and heartbreak of ancient Greece makes its way to the McComas Hall main stage Wednesday as Theatre MSU presents its interpretation of the classic Greek play “Antigone.”

Featuring a cast of 22 Mississippi State University students and directed by Donna Clevinger, the play runs 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10-12 as a special entertainment portion of the Shackouls Honors College’s Classical Week programming.

Clevinger said she was drawn to the play’s heroine and the story the dramatist Sophocles told.

“I like the story of Antigone and the gutsiness of this female during that time,” she said. “It took a female to stand up to Creon, and she struggles with different types of love throughout the play — the love for family and the love for state.”

Clevinger said the rehearsal process has been enjoyable and she was impressed with the level of talent and dedication each student brought to the piece.

“Rehearsals have been wonderful, and the lines have been learned beautifully,” she said. “The actors have put forth such an effort to learn and deliver these Greek lines.”

Originally written by Sophocles, Clevinger said she was taken in by the translation David Greene provided.

“It’s a clean script that doesn’t come with directions or staging options, and it’s readable and understandable,” she said. “I love it because it give me a clean palette to work with, and it helps the students not have any preconceived notions about movements or character motivations in their minds.”

Clevinger said Christopher Walrath was in charge of set construction and lighting design, and said he brought a wonderful level of knowledge and creativity to the production.

“Walrath has provided us a wonderful and flexible set,” she said. “He took my terrible, little sketches and developed them into a sensational set that captured my ideas of the chorus of Thebes and the Oedipus stories.”

MSU senior Robbie Henry portrays the play’s titular character and said she was looking forward to the opportunity to stretch herself as an actress.

“It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever done because I’m so used to playing more comedic roles,” she said. “It’s an exciting opportunity to take on a more serious role who has deep emotions that she can portray on stage.”

Henry said the experience of “Antigone” has been beneficial as a performer, and attributes all theatrical aspects to the creation of each actor’s character.

“I definitely grew as an actress through this,” she said. “Everything coming together — the lights, the set, the costumes — helps solidify everyone and their characters by adding such exciting layers of depth.”

Clevinger said the direction of the costumes, created by Melanie Harris and Amy Fortenberry, have been in consideration for some time.

“We chose the color palette in late summer,” she said. “We’re taking earth tones as well as richer qualities of color for those portraying royalty.”

Clevinger said each of the play’s three performances will be followed by a different scholar each night discussing many aspects of the Greek culture including Megan Foley, Nancy Hargrove, Robert Wolverton and Christopher Snyder.

“It’s been wonderful educational experience,” she said. “It’s been a real joy for me to work with so many individuals at MSU and from the community.”

While she encourages the community to come out and see the production of “Antigone,” Clevinger said her ultimate focus is on the students.

“Whether you’re into Greek tragedy or not, you can sit down and appreciate an evening of theatre,” she said. “Most importantly, however, the students are loving and enjoying the process, and that’s our main goal.”

“Antigone” runs Oct. 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. in the McComas Hall theater. Tickets are $10.

For more information, call 662-325-3320 or visit http://www.comm.msstate.edu/dept/theatre.

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