Antigone

for everbody 15 years+


An adaptation of the tragedies by Sophocles and Anouilh for a modern audience by Erpho Bell

Antigone, a young woman, defies King Creon who has recently seized power. She buried her brother, even though it was an offence punishable by death.
But without a burial, the brother, who had fallen in battle, will not enter the realm of the dead; his soul won’t find peace.
Creon offers Antigone to cover up her deed.
However, Antigone doesn’t want to conceal what she did.
The young woman fights a desperate battle against Creon, the king who is also her uncle. Will he really have no choice but to have her killed?

PREMIERE: Friday, September 11, 2015, HELIOS Theater
Performance dates


Ensemble

Performance: Helena Aljona Kühn, Marko Werner, Michael Lurse, Roman D. Metzner
Production: Barbara Kölling
Dramaturgy: Erpho Bell
Composition: Roman D. Metzner
Assistant: Leonie Raulf

Artistic cooperation with Compagnie ACTA

HELIOS Theater and Compagnie ACTA from Paris have been bound by the ties of artistic friendship for many years. Since 2013, the Compagnie has been headed by Laurent Dupont, who already produced two plays at HELIOS Theater. Both theatres work for young children as well as for young adults; not only FOR them, but also WITH the children and young adults. In 2013, an artistic cooperation commenced that proceeded in several stages. The starting point was the ANTIGONE myth. It was kicked off with “Ich kämpfe. also bin ich” by JugendTheaterWerkstatt in Hamm; using various text versions of ANTIGONE, the project focused on the question of “opposition” for several months starting in November 2013. Later, Laurent Dupont/ACTA and Barbara Kölling/HELIOS examined the same issue together with young adults in Hamm, and workshops took place in France in spring 2015. Starting in summer 2015, both companies took up rehearsals with professional performers, using the ANTIGONE myth as starting point, and developed different plays based on it.

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Press response

Season at Helios Theater in Hamm opens with “Antigone”

“Hamm - Which colour does power have? Is it dark or blood-red? Or is it white like a projection surface, like the stage at Kulturbahnhof in Hamm? Helios Theater opens the season with its probably most political production: “Antigone”, adapted by independent theatre maker Erpho Bell. Bell uses elements from Sophocles and Jean Anouilh to craft a modern parable about power: like a fairy tale in its reduction and symbolic language, yet contemporary in its directness.
Helios Theater has created the play in collaboration with Paris-based Acta-Compagnie. In the rehearsal stage, the professionals worked with young adults. The young people’s directness and their blunt grasp of politics are reflected in Hamm’s “Antigone”. The pattern follows that in the ancient tragedy: power, embodied by Creon, King of Thebes (Marko Werner), meets personal morality, embodied by Antigone (Helena Aljona Kühn). In spite of Creon’s decree, she wants to bury Polyneices, who died in a fight with his brother. An additional performer makes an appearance: Michael Lurse as political conférencier. His part opens the play towards the audience. He runs between the seats, encouraging the spectators to applaud Creon in the style of audiences applauding former leader of the German Democratic Republic, Erich Honecker: “The war is over!” Lurse thrusts the microphone at several members of the audience: “What do you think of capital punishment?” Helios Theater does not stand for casual onlookers. Director Barbara Kölling requires involvement. Politics and theatre alike should not be merely consumed. This is why Werner’s Creon and Kühn’s Antigone frequently address the audience directly. They do not recite dialogues; rather, they put their convictions into words. Roman D. Metzner’s music accentuates their keywords.
Antigone, played by Kühn full of shuddering indignation, rejects power of any kind as despotic. Creon’s reaction is helplessness: somebody has to carry responsibility. The questions put to the members of the audience boost the impact of the play. Even those spectators who don’t give an answer take a stance; helplessness, too, has its place. Unfortunately, Creon, played by Marko Werner in an admirably sleazy manner, spouts mainly nasty phrases. This renders his position ridiculous, because the production thus sidesteps its own fundamental questions, at least in parts. If moral principles of the individual rate more highly than governmental power, how is that morality legitimised? The Olympian gods no longer exist. This day and age, people who invoke religion skate on thin ice. Moreover, the current religious conflicts should prompt any enlightened individual to seek salvation in reason. Any citizen in a modern state who invokes principles of human dignity as basis of their personal morality must be aware that those principles don’t manifest themselves unless they are cemented in constitutions. Consequently, it is the law that is being invoked. People who, like Bell and Kölling, make Creon ridiculous ignore one basic function of the modern state. In this instance, ancient tragedy and modern parable don’t align. An immensely interesting, enthusiastically performed production that elicited powerful emotions and ideas – this is what makes good theatre.”

Westfälischer Anzeiger, by Edda Breski

Festivals

In 2016, “Antigone” was invited to “westwind” in Gelsenkirchen, the 32nd theatre convention in NRW for a young audience.

From the statement of the festival jury:
“The Antigone tragedy about opposition and power has been captivating theatre makers for almost 5000 years. At HELIOS Theater in Hamm, Erpho Bell as the dramaturg who created the adaptation, and Barbara Kölling as the director of the play have proved that the struggle between the young girl and the ruler, who is at the same time her uncle, has remained as topical as ever. Supported by live musician Roman D. Metzner, the three-man ensemble finds a way to make the subject matter relevant for the young audience of today. The artists focus on language and do not shy away from intellectual discourse, thus confronting us with uncomfortable questions about our own position with regard to the world, our willingness to offer resistance, our ideals, and our willingness to advocate them.”

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