Antigonick (2015)

Three-year collaboration with theater director Mark Jackson culminating in co-direction of a dance theater production of Antigonick, Anne Carson’s radical translation of Antigone. Produced and presented by Shotgun Players.

Core creative questions:
How can the work be as radical as the source material?
How do you balance the ambiguity and abstraction of dance with the demands of storytelling? ]

ANTIGONE: We begin in the dark and birth is the death of us 

ISMENE: Who said that


ISMENE: Sounds more like Beckett  

ANTIGONE: He was paraphrasing Hegel.
--Anne Carson


When we say we need to give ourselves space to deal with something, often we’re saying we need time. Space and time are flip sides of the same coin. In presenting her radical translation, ANTIGONICK, in the form of an art book, Anne Carson invites us to take time to reconsider Sophokles’ well known characters. Through ANTIGONICK’sdistinctive text (handwritten in all capital letters and surrounded by ample white space) and paintings (on transparent vellum pages inserted seemingly by chance), Carson makes the format of her book as decisive an aspect of the script as the words. She compels us not only to listen to this ancient story, but also to see it. As a poet, Carson understands that a perfectly coherent narrative order simply cannot contain the chaos of the human experience. Full of interruption, ambiguity, and collage, ANTIGONICKoffers a challenge and an invitation. It’s no longer possible to coast on expectation. It’s no longer easy to separate heroes from villains. Carson carves out a bit of space and time for us to consider alternative possibilities... Working on ANTIGONICK led us to think a great deal about integrity. If we measure a person’s integrity by the extent to which she puts her body on the line for her ideals, then of course Antigone wins our sympathy. But isn’t Kreon also throwing himself on the fire by wearing the new title of king—a title he never wanted—and trying to create order in the wake of a chaotic war he never supported? Aren’t the Antigones and Kreons of the world similar in their narrow-minded courage? Most of us are more like Ismene, Haimon, Eurydike, or the Messenger—teetering somewhere between the poles of Antigone and Kreon’s extremes. Who is right? Who suffers more? Is it so easy to say?

--Program Note from the Production:



Performers: Kevin Clarke, Monique Jenkinson, Rami Margron, Parker Murphy, David Sinaiko, Kenny Toll, Megan Trout, Soren Santos
Co-Directors: Mark Jackson and Hope Mohr
Set: Nina Ball
Lighting: Stephanie Buchner
Sound: Teddy Hulsker
Costumes: Christine Crook
Props: Kirsten Royston
Stage Management: Katherine Bickford, Christina Bauer

-- Irene Hsiao,"Astounding Antigonick at Berkeley's Shotgun Players," SF Weekly, March 25, 2015

"Jackson, an inventive director with a penchant for expressive physical interpretations of texts, and Mohr, best known as a choreographer, fill the stage with endlessly intriguing, propulsive and slowly evolving movement patterns — drawing on everything from unexpected variations on hopscotch and other children’s games to insect-scuttling, wobbling in high heels or hobbled by fallen pantyhose, walking on tiptoe or just leaning intensely felt, richly inventive and resonant show"
-- Robert Hurwitt, "In Antigonick, ancient tragedy explodes in modern forms," S.F. Chronicle, March 27, 2015

“a spellbinding piece of dance theater…wildly creative”
-- Sam Hurwitt, "Shotgun Players’ Stylized ‘Antigonick’ Makes a Triumph of Tragedy," KQED,  April 2, 2015

"Carefully detailed direction by Mark Jackson and choreographer Hope Mohr physicalize the story in equally compelling, wonderfully theatrical ways."
-- Jean Schiffman, "Shotgun Players stage slick ‘Antigonick,’ " S.F. Examiner, April 1, 2015

"tense, minimal strokes that erupt into a grand ferocity…stunningly raw"
-- Irene Hsiao, “Astounding Antigonick at Berkeley's Shotgun Players,” SF Weekly, March 25, 2015

Performance History
Shotgun Players, March 19 - April 19, 2015