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Polarity's Antigone "...a virtuoso display of theatrical technique..." --New City

Antigone
"There's nobility and wisdom in Polarity's stripped-down production approach..."
--Christopher Piatt, Time Out Chicago
"A jingoist and solipsistic leader whose arrogance and insecurity causes the rights of the individual to be violated for what he believes to be the greater good of the state? Is this the subject of a 2000-year old Greek tragedy or this morning's headlines? In this moment in history, the relevance and timelessness of Sophocles should be lost on no one. Presenting their "adaptation for a war-torn time," Polarity Ensemble Theatre's highly ambitious "Antigone" has been staged as if it were playing in a 30,000-seat auditorium, its striking physical production incorporating grand gesticulation, a painstakingly choreographed chorus and arresting stage pictures worthy of movie cinematography...a virtuoso display of theatrical technique...

"Its text, courtesy of playwright and PET artistic director Richard Engling, admirably folds pockets of poetic cadences within a contemporary formality of speech that will be accessible to all." --Fabrizio 0. Almeida, New City

"...a nice balance between accessibility and heightened poetic language."
--Zac Thompson, Chicago Reader, February 24, 2006


Antigone played at the Breadline Theatre, 1802 West Berenice, Chicago, February 17th through March 19th, 2006.

The ANTIGONE Company

Antigone.....................Abigail Trabue
Ismene.......................Amanda Monfrooe
Creon.........................Christopher Marcum
Eurydice.....................Abby Rowold
Guard/Chorus.............Brian Bush
Haemon.....................Andrew Yearick
Teiresias.....................Richard Engling
A Boy.........................Joseph M. Ciresi
Messenger/Chorus.......Travis Gauchay
Chorus Leader.............Erin Lane
Chorus........................Robert Ertel
..................................Marsha Harman
..................................Laura Rauh
..................................Meaghan D. Sullivan

Direction.....................Ann Keen and Zack Brenner
Stage Management.......Mary Ellen Rieck
Fight Choreography......Mason Hill
Lighting.......................Tony Ligeza
Costumes and Masks....Jessica Pribble and Vanessa King
Properties....................Wendy Mingin
Set..............................Marissa Hughes
Graphic Design............Cathleen Ann

Questions and Answers with the Directors of Antigone

Ann Keen

Co-Director Ann Keen
How would you describe the style in which you are directing Antigone?

Ann Keen: We are directing from a tradition of movement-based theatre. We use the actor's bodies and expressions to bring the story to life. The movement is vibrant. It often walks a tightrope between combat and dance.

Zack Brenner: It's a heightened style. It's language-based and physically engaging. We've spent a lot of time on the language, using the words to paint a picture in the audience's minds while presenting them with visual images the directors and ensemble have created on our own.
How do you think this Antigone might surprise the audience?

Zack Brenner: It moves seamlessly. Although it's grand tragedy, it doesn't drag. Also, traditionally weak roles like Haemon and Ismene, have their own strengths in this production. They have beliefs of their own that differ from Creon and Antigone, but are just as strong and justified.

Ann Keen: This adaptation makes extremely revelant points to today's situation. The story is comparable to a good wine - it improved with age.
Zack Brenner

Co-Director Zack Brenner
How do you think the audience will react emotionally to the show?

Ann Keen:It should feel like a rollercoaster of emotions. Just when you feel anger towards a character, compassion and sorrow are soon to follow.

Zack Brenner: I don't want there to be a right or wrong on this story, I just want to provoke the audience into deciding for themselves. WHAT they think doesn't concern me, as much as THAT they think.

What has been the most surprising thing about directing this show?

Ann Keen: How people make theatre, not the theatre itself. Scenery, lights, costumes are nice, but in rehearsals, before any of the other elements were added, we used to get chills from the electricity of the actors' emotional responses to each other. They were wearing all sorts of crazy clothing, and we were in a huge gym with terrible lights. It all disappeared, and you could hear a pin drop when the scene was connected and the characters came to life.

Zack Brenner: How well Ann Keen and I have been able to co-direct. It's been an equal partnership the entire time. We've completely different theatrical backgrounds, she's got a graduate degree and a handful of shows under her belt, while I'm fresh out of undergrad. Yet we've been on the same page since day one.

What has been the most satisfying thing?

Zack Brenner: Working with this cast. We've got a diverse group of actors, most of whom haven't been doing shows in Chicago for long. Everybody's so trusting and willing to go all out with this style. It's really refreshing how far this cast has been willing to push themselves for the sake of the production.

Ann Keen: A true collaboration. Actors researching their characters and asking if lines could be changed and the playwright coming back with better text than before. Having two directors and having little-to-no conflict -- only building on each new idea introduced. This collaboration has created the best work environment: an artistic community that approaches suggestions as hopeful possibilities while respecting each part of the craft that goes into creating theatre. That is very rare.
Polarity Ensemble Theatre is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres.

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