Cleveland Theater Review.
“A Classic Lost in the Modern”
The trouble with remaking a classic like “Antigone” into a modern, multi racial, crossing male and female characters is that if it is not done the right wa, the play will get lost in itself. At the Outcalt Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio, it does just that.
In the beginning we get a speech from the king, Creon, (Vanessa Morosco), a woman, claiming victory in Thebes latest war. Steadfast to the story, she informs her subjects that anyone who buries Polynices will be granted death. The play never tells us that it was Polynices who was expelled from the kingdom by his brother, Eteocles who also died in this war when Polynices mounted an army against the kingdom The end result pushed Creon to the top. Aside from the fast and loose history given here, the main problem is twofold: the direction by Lauren Keating and the costume design by Sara Ryung Clement.
In the direction we get actors whose facial expressions, the business of what expressions they are trying to put forth, the interaction between characters is weak. Vanessa Morosco cannot carry her lead role; she is more interested in her hair it seemed than making her role work. Her timing all night was just not there. Aside from the lead not being believable, she showed no strength in being the king. In Sara Ryung Clement’s costumes, we saw three- inch heels, form fitting dresses, fatigues, black slacks with blue shirts. Even in a modern play this was not appealing for a classic play like Antigone.
Not all was lost in this one hour fifteen- minute play. Mariah Burks played a very good role as Antigone. Issac Baker was effective as an Aide and Sierra Grabowska was both humorous and solid as a guard. Courtney O’Neill’s scenic design was well done. The two marble stones in the front that showed decay was significant in the decline of an empire.
Even with the aforementioned good things, this Antigone was not casted well. Judy Bowman should have gotten actors that worked better together and that were more believable. Many of the actors on stage bordered on amateurship. Throughout the entire play it was difficult to see the believability of the play because the actors as well as the direction was so poor. Even Karen Olson’s deft lighting could not bring the mood into this performance. The show’s nexus was supposed to be that today’s leaders haven’t changed from 442 B.C. Unfortunately, the play never really brings that forth.
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