Tragedy with a sprinkle of familial love

By Shannon Hoyt —

Tragedy strikes the University of Wisconsin–Stout Theatre. Well, more like Greek tragedy.  This fall, students can experience an era of theatre through Sophocles’s Antigone.

Antigone is an example of an Ancient Greek Tragedy. The story takes place in Thebes after a conflict between two brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, leaves them both dead. Antigone, sister of the two dead brothers, wishes to bury Polyneices in an attempt to defy a declaration made by Creon, ruler of Thebes.

“Antigone has long been one of my favorite plays and I am excited about finally mounting it,” said Paul Calenberg, director for Antigone. “It has been over 15 years since Stout Theatre has produced a Greek tragedy, and I felt it was time to expose theatre students and the community at large to this wonderful piece of art.”

Paul Calenberg, professor and director of theatre, has been directing at UW–Stout for 15 years. He also has a Master of Fine Arts in Stage Directing.

Antigone resonates a theme that, even today, influences modern generations. However, the production presents new obstacles for the cast and their characters.    

Sam Kilgard, UW–Stout student and junior in the Professional Communications program, will be performing in Antigone, his first Stout Theatre production. He is performing as “the Messenger.”

“It is a Greek tragedy, so there is a lot of death,” said Kilgard. “I am simply the man who describes what is going on.”

Kilgard is responsible for some of the biggest sets of monologue in the play, memorizing paragraphs at a time.  

The small cast encounters complex characters. Meghan Olson, a junior in the Early Childhood Education program, also faces obstacles in her role as Antigone.

“I think I pull new emotion and conviction from [Antigone’s] words every time I perform them, so the growth is continuous,” said Olson. “I find that, even at performances, I am always revising and learning about my character and who I am as I portray them and their story, so the growth always continues; like people, characters are never ‘perfect’.”

Seeing constant progress and improvement in practice, Calenberg noted, “The cast is excited by the challenge of performing a Greek tragedy and the many challenges this style of theatre presents.”

The performance dates for Antigone will be Nov. 11, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 14 and 15 at 1:30 p.m. in the Mabel Tainter Theatre. All tickets are $12.00.

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