Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture
Performance and Symposium
Athens in 441BC was a large and sophisticated city known for
unrivalled cultural riches. In this milieu Antigone was performed for the first time, probably in the new
theater of Dionysus built on the south face of the Acropolis. The theater was semicircular, of marble, with perfect
sightlines and acoustics. Such clarity of sound and sight still amazes visitors to places like Epidauros
whose theater could seat up to 14,000. The richness of poetic language, every nuance and phrase, could easily
reach even the furthest patron. In such an ascetic setting Sophocles presented his work.
Based on an old myth, Antigone confronts problems of love and
hatred, revenge and mercy, law and justice. For Sophocles, says David
Grene, the myth was the treatment of the
generic aspect of the human dilemmas. “Behind the figure of Creon stands the tyrant of the legend; and
behind the tyrant of the legend, the meaning of all despotic authority.”
The tragic character of Antigone emerges as powerful.
She rejects the law and defies the king himself who imposed it. With profound love and compassion she insists on proper burial for
her brother’s body, even if she has to do it herself. In her resignation to the awful consequences of her defiance, she
embodies some of the noblest attributes of humanity. And in the play, Sophocles raises unspoken questions of the
validity of such action, the nature of justice and the limits of courage.
Bertrand Fay presents a new version both of the language and the action, a
version which may be as challenging to us as the original performance must
have been to those who sat in the outdoor theater of Dionysus, two and a
half millennia ago. And what of the setting? How can we reconcile a drama designed for spare-boned Greek space
with the interior of a sixteenth century classical library imported to a
street near Central Park in twenty-first century New York? We now have an opportunity to see the possibilities.
When I first saw it, Fay’s Antigone had me on the edge of my seat.
Patrick J. Quinn
9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
10:00 a.m. Introduction: Lillian Sigal, Patrick Quinn
Performance: Bertrand Fay
Masks by Jim Lewis
11:35 a.m. Break
11:40 a.m. Responses to the
: Tom Driver, Lillian Sigal
12:00 p.m. Discussion
1:00 p.m. Luncheon
2:15 p.m. The Masks of Antigone
Technical aspects: Jim Lewis and
2:45 p.m. Responses: Tom Driver,
3:00 p.m. Discussion
4:00 p.m. Wines and cheese
Information about program leaders.
Saturday, February 3, 2001
House of the Redeemer
7 East 95th Street
New York, New York
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Performance and Symposium
Illuminations & Transformations:
Cross-Cultural Spiritual Dynamics
in Music, Text, Dance and Film
Sacred Text Embodied in Visual Art
The Meaning of Myth
Myth, Ritual and the Mediation
Writers' Ways with Loving and Dying
The Divine Image
Implications for a changing image of God.
Uneasy Constellations of Meaning
Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth Century
The Religious Art of Andy Warhol
May, 1998 Meeting
AYNI: The Andean Concept of Reciprocity
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Charles Henderson, Executive Director