Maskers Studio Theatre
17 - 21 October 2017

At 7:30pm.

The show SOLD OUT

The Reviews


17th October

Antigone is a Greek mythological tale about power, status, honour, dysfunctional families and the struggle between the individual and those in positions of authority. Antigone, daughter/sister of Oedipus and his mother/lover, Jocasta, witnesses the deaths of her two brothers in battle: one, Eteokles, dies while defending the city when attacked by the other, Polyneikes. Antigone’s uncle, Kreon, declares that Eteokles should be awarded a burial with full honours, but that Polyneikes should be left on the battlefield where he fell. Antigone is horrified by this declaration and defies her uncle, his declared law and the power of the authorities to ensure that her disgraced brother should be laid to rest with respect – but there are dire consequences resulting from her actions….

Antigone may well be considered an irrelevant, ancient Greek tragedy (written by Sophocles in around 441BC), but its running themes show just how little Man has fundamentally changed over the centuries. Anne Carson’s new translation may bring the language bang up to date (irrespective of the references to ancient Greek gods), but the underlying tones of war and conflict, absolute power corrupting absolutely, hierarchical battles, sibling squabbles, idealised parents becoming flawed humans in the eyes of their maturing children: these are all as topical today as they were in Sophocles’s era.

The Maskers Studio is an intimate, almost claustrophobic, venue. Here the audience sit one row deep in the round, with the actors speaking not just to each other, but also directly to the audience, at times breaking any conventional spatial barriers by alighting a hand on a shoulder, or getting up close and ‘in your face’ with an individual in the audience. But nothing brings the intimacy and entanglement of the audience into the production more than the opening few minutes: after a brief radio narrative has set the tone, the dynamic and vivid lighting and sound effects combine to immerse the audience in a war-torn atmosphere, similar to the effects in the opening of Saving Private Ryan. It may not be as graphically illustrative, but the pictures evoked in your imagination by Tom Foyle and Jamie McCarthy’s first-class respective lighting and sound designs bring the horrors of the unfolding events uncomfortably to life; shivers definitely ran down my spine, the hairs standing up on the back of my neck, and the horrified expressions of some other audience members brought it vividly home.

Having grabbed your attention from the very start, the outstanding performances by the small ensemble (under the skilled, precise direction of Ken Hann) keep you totally gripped until the very last moment. The pace is excellent – dynamic with virtually every movement full of intent and purpose – but the moments of stillness and directed pauses are also perfectly timed and placed. There is usually a safety of distance between the actors on stage and audience in the auditorium, but here there is nowhere for the actors to hide when in such a close proximity to the audience – and when the set comprises of just one small rostrum and one hard chair, they are even more exposed. The level of focus, commitment and engagement from the whole group is nothing short of superb. Many Studio or Green Room productions that I have seen have been like being a fly on the wall; here it is taken a step further as the audience becomes immersed in the production and an integral part of it.

Sarah-Jayne Wareham is entirely captivating as Antigone, running seemingly effortlessly a whole gamut of emotions including anger, grief and defiance with her physicality, vocal strength and depth of characterisation; the sibling relationship she shares with Kate Grundy-Garcia as her sister, Ismene, is complex and intriguing (the epitome of being unable to live peaceably with each other, but rallying in defence of each other when the chips are down).

Matt Avery’s portrayal of the zealous, power-crazed King is equally mesmerising as the oily politician (his gentle, smiling face masking the cruelty of his words), displaying arrogance, bullying, pomposity. He is dangerous because he passionately believes that his way is the right way, but then starts to unravel emphatically as events and his hand in them evolves. Avery commands the performance space with a powerful, assured, dynamic depiction of the despot King.

Of the other supporting actors, special mention should be made of Eric Petterson’s charming and multi-faceted characters; he has a very naturalistic approach that delivers totally credible characters who can leave a touch of humour in an otherwise very dark tale, displaying belligerence, fear, insubordination and submission with seamless flair and panache.

This isn’t a jolly night out at the theatre, but it is utterly compelling and memorable: a masterclass in the modern telling of an ancient classic.

- Anne Waggott

"I am someone born to share in love not hatred"

Directors Notes

Anne Carson has produced a beautiful new translation of Sophokles’ classic Greek tragedy originally written 2,500 years ago. She has managed to bring the language up to date without losing any of the lyricism of the original.

It is a powerful play hinging on the rights of the individual versus those of the State. Antigone sees her two brothers killed in battle fighting against each other. The king and Antigone’s uncle, Kreon, issues an edict that Eteokles, who fought to defend the city, should be buried with full honours whilst his brother Polyneikes, who attacked the city, should be left unburied on the battlefield.

Antigone decides that she must defy Kreon and bury her brother. She dares to stand up to an authoritarian ruler and say “No.” This act of defiance triggers a sequence of events that will ultimately lead to a cycle of destruction from which there is no escape.

Sophokles had written a tragedy that would become a template for others, including Shakespeare, to follow. Aristotle repeatedly quoted Antigone in his philosophical treatise and it is still used in philosophy today. It is remarkable to think how little we have learned in the last 2,500 years. We have still not resolved this very basic, but important, question; “Who has the right, the individual or the State?”

Antigone is very much a play for today and, in Anne Carson’s powerful translation, a very human one as well.

Director & Cast

The Director of this production was Ken Hann
Ken joined the Maskers in 1969 and has appeared in many shows including War and Peace, Taming of the Shrew, The Rivals, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Dresser. He has performed at the Nuffield, Avington Park, Mottisfont Abbey, the Studio and Colin’s Butchers Shop to name but a few. He first directed (Macbeth) in 2003. Antigone will be his ninth production for the Maskers, and his first foray into Greek Drama, thus fulfilling a long-cherished ambition.

Radio newscaster played by David Pike
David, an ex Rose Bruford student, began his time with Maskers in 1971 playing Napoleon in War and Peace at the Nuffield. Other productions at the Nuffield include The Lark, Oh, What a Lovely War!, Inherit The Wind, A Doll's House, King Lear, The National Health, and a memorable role as Long John Silver in Treasure Island in which he had to contend with a live parrot!

Antigone played by Sarah-Jayne Wareham
During her time at Maskers, Sarah-Jayne has had the opportunity to play a range of weird and wonderful roles, from Mrs Robinson in The Graduate to Mercy in Humble Boy, and the Parrot in Treasure Island. Most recently she had great fun playing a plethora of characters, including Estella and a duck, in Great Expectations. She is looking forward to stretching her wings in this modern adaptation of one of the most renowned Greek tragedies.

Ismene (sister of Antigone) / Chorus played by Kate Grundy-Garcia
Kate has been an on/off Masker for over 25 years and has enjoyed playing a number of roles including more recently, the weeping bride in An Italian Straw Hat at the Nuffield Theatre. Kate is now enjoying getting stuck into another weeping role but this time in a Greek tragedy. Otherwise, Kate lives with her three children and her husband and Spanish fellow Masker, Ruben

Kreon (King of Thebes and Antigone’s uncle) played by Matt Avery
Antigone is the root of all modern philosophy. The love of money is the root of all evil. The A306 is a route to Salisbury. Using these insights as a basis, Matt is working hard to develop a suitably moving character. This production will be his first Greek tragedy not in an amphitheatre, and he is delighted to be working with such a talented cast and director.  And sincere thanks, as ever, to Ed.

Guard / Chorus played by Eric Petterson
Eric Petterson started a late acting and singing career in A Christmas Charivari in 2012. His straight acting roles included the Guard in Forward to the Right and Jack in The Weir. He played multiple parts in our successful production of Great Expectations earlier this year, and found an affinity with crates. Eric thinks Antigone looks great fun, and the Guard a particularly bolshie character!

Haimon (son of Kreon, betrothed to Antigone) / Chorus played by Robert Osborne
Robert has been a member of Maskers for six years and has taken on a range of roles both on- and offstage. His most recent role was The Chief Clerk in Metamorphosis (for which he won the Dave Bartlett award for best supporting actor). He has spent the last year designing lighting and stage managing and will be making his directorial debut in the Maskers Studio Theatre in October 2018 directing Happy by Robert Caisley.

Teiresias (a prophet) / Chorus played by Sheana Carrington
Maskers celebrate their fiftieth birthday next year so, as a founder member, I am quite ancient! Having directed and costumed several plays more recently, I have decided to have a go again at being in a play! Rehearsals have been enjoyable and challenging in equal measures. I researched the character, Teiresias, the Prophet, and discovered that he displeased the Gods and was turned into a woman for seven years. Obviously, this story takes place, whilst he is a woman!

Eurydike (wife of Kreon) / Chorus played by Maria Head
Maria has been a member of Maskers for many years and has played a wide variety of roles including Mistress Page in Merry Wives of Windsor, Lampito in Lysistrata, the scary Annie Wilkes in Misery and the more wholesome Marmee in Little Women. She is delighted to be cast in Antigone and to be directed by Ken again: the last time being King Lear when she played Goneril.

Creative Team

Production Manager
Graham Buchanan
Assistant to the Director
Ros Liddiard
Stage Manager
Angie Barks
Lighting Design
Tom Foyle
Sound Design
Jamie McCarthy
Chris Baker & cast
Lighting Operator
Tom Foyle
Sound Operator
David Cowley
Set Construction
Graham Buchanan, Peter Hill, John Hamon & Ken Hann
Lighting Consultant
Clive Weeks
Family Tree Graphics
John Hamon
Rehearsal Photography
Paul Watts of PBWPIX

Ticket Information

Tickets £9.50

No concessions

Poster, Flyer & Programme

For the Maskers

Technical Manager:- Jamie McCarthy; Marketing Director:- Ruth Kibble; Marketing Team:- Sarah Russell, Angela Stansbridge, James Norton, Clive Weeks, Robert Osborne, Meri Mackney; Front of House Manager:- Chris Baker; Box Office Manager:- Chris Baker; Photography:- Clive Weeks; Bar Manager:- Meri Mackney
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Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

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Established 1968

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