By Allison Verdesca ’18
On November 9, 10, and 11, the Drama Department performed its annual fall play Antigone by Sophocles. The Greek tragedy describes life in the city of Thebes under the domineering rule of King Creon. A part of Pingry’s freshman English curriculum, the play examines issues of divine law versus societal law and the use and abuse of political power. The entire freshman class, along with special needs students from Montgomery Academy in Basking Ridge, watched the play’s dress rehearsal.
The play follows a young girl named Antigone (Meghan Salamon, VI), whose two brothers turn on each other and cause a civil war. After they kill each other in battle, the newly crowned King Creon (Lucas Vazquez, V) advocates for the burial of only one of the brothers. Fearing the retribution of the gods, Antigone sets out to bury her other brother, despite the threats of Creon and warnings from her sister Ismene (Alison Verdesca, VI). Incensed by Antigone’s disobedience, Creon demands that Antigone be buried alive. Creon’s son Haemon (Giancarlo Castillo, VI), who is engaged to Antigone, tries to change his father’s mind but fails. After the blind seer Tiresias (Megan Pan, VI) predicts that Creon’s stubbornness will lead to disaster, Creon reconsiders. When he reaches the tomb, Antigone has hanged herself and Haemon, after attempting to kill Creon and failing, kills himself as well. When Eurydice (Sara Donovan, VI), Creon’s wife, hears the news, she also commits suicide, leaving Creon a lonely and broken man. In the play, the Army Chorus and the Citizen’s Chorus narrate the story and comment on the plot.
Directed by Mrs. Meaghan Singer, Pingry’s production put a new spin on this classic Greek tale by setting it in a dystopian future. Mrs. Singer said of the show’s setting, “I heard Antigone’s words ringing in my ears — ‘these citizens here would all agree…if their lips weren’t locked in fear’ — and I knew immediately that my version of Antigone would be set in a totalitarian state, a military regime, and my chorus would be an army, not unlike that of Kim Jong Un’s, or Stalin’s, or Hitler’s.”
This was Mrs. Singer’s first year directing the fall play, though she assisted Mr. Romano in the past. Of the Drama Department, she said, “I love working in such a supportive and giving environment. It is a true pleasure.”
In addition to having Ms. Singer as a new director, Antigone had a new master carpenter, Mr. Christopher Abbott. Mr. Abbott worked with Mrs. Jane Asch to create a futuristic set inspired by the play’s dystopian world. Another new faculty member, Mr. Alan Van Antwerp, served as technical director as well as lighting designer. Lindsay Cheng (IV), Jackson Lubke (V), and Ouarida Benatia (VI) served as the play’s stage managers.
Meghan Salamon, who played the titular role, said her favorite memory was “spending time with all the seniors during the morning of our last show.” Involved with drama since her freshman year, Meghan was eager to step into the role of Antigone for her final fall production. “Antigone is smart and dedicated, and she throws herself into what she thinks is right. I really admire that about her,” Salamon said. “She definitely expresses how she feels and she lets people know what she stands for.”