Lilicherie McGregor
Theatre Studies
University of Otago
New Zealand

Antigone directed by Lilicherie McGregor

Antigone was performed as an experimental environmental theatre piece in the atrium of the Commerce Building for the Classics Conference in Dunedin, July 2000. The Greek text was used as a pre-text from which to utilize the ongoing research into actor training that Lilicherie McGregor has been directing this year with Kylie Thomas and Zohra Trinder. The actors experimented with creating a performance with methods which included creating movement scores over which pieces of text were laid. Physical investigations into walking were enlarged upon when the director introduced Japanese high platform wooden shoes which necessitated a special way of walking. These shoes interacted with the hard surface of the space creating a drum like sound as the actors moved with tiny, fast, stamping footsteps calling to each other with bird-like calls that echoed and reverberated around the space. Other interactions with the space included sliding up-side-down down the steel bannisters, contact improvisation over the tile floor and interaction with the trees, accompanied by drumming on a large Chinese drum.

The two actors played different roles throughout the piece quickly switching from one character to another. The atrium itself was an experimental performance space which held a fascination for the director with its huge hollow echoing qualities, wide staircase leading down to the bottom level which resembled a Greek amphitheatre and different levels where the audience could be placed above the actors, looking down at the action below. This performance was based on a reading of the play from the perspective of the two sisters and their relationship to each other, one sister who goes to her death by being buried alive because of her political, religious and social values and the other who does not support her in her 'madness' of fighting the system. The performance was personalised by the actors' own memories and associations with death and death rituals and the director's loss of mother and sister-in-law this year, remembered by the inclusion of music from their funerals. A part of the text was interrogated in terms of the Greek language and its tonal and rhythmical specificities, the actors creating a drum score and a dance from these rhythms.

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Lilicherie McGregor
University of Otago