Sophocles' Antigone: The Burial at Thebes
A king drunk on authority, a loyal sister, and the curse of defying divine law; Sophocles’ Antigone is a timeless tale that fuses these entities in a brilliant fashion! This adaptation of the play is a product of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney’s vivid imagination and unmatched writing skills.
Why Watch Sophocles' Antigone: The Burial at Thebes
Adapting 5th-century BC play for the modern stage is no easy task. Yet, this is exactly what Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney achieved! First produced in Abbey Theatre in 2004, the play quickly became a public favourite. It was also converted to an opera by musical genius Dominique Le Gendre with the libretto written by Heaney himself. The play diverges significantly from the original version in an attempt to stay relevant.
Irish idioms are prevalent throughout the play, and the stage-time of some of the characters such as the ‘Guard’ has been enhanced as well. Heaney also draws several parallels between the King of Thebes, Creon, and George W. Bush. The play revolves around the conflict between fascistic tendencies and individual freedom. The ideas of civic law are also contrasted with divine law. The play is directed by Roy Alexander Weise, a talented upcoming artistic director in London.
Antigone is the daughter of the late Oedipus King of Thebes. Her uncle, Creon has been appointed as the new ruler of Thebes. In a heated battle, her brothers Polyneices and Eteocles have killed each other while fighting on opposite sides. Eteocles, who fought on the Theban side, is honourably buried by Creon, while Polyneices is labelled a traitor. Creon forbids anyone in his state from burying Polyneices, warning his populace that any attempt to bury the young warrior will lead to dire consequences for the offender.
Antigone is horrified and livid. She cannot bear the thought of her brother’s carcass ripped apart by vultures. After a short discussion with her sister Ismene, she decides to bury her brother no matter the cost. Caught in her treasonous act, Antigone is sealed alive in a tomb and left for dead. Although Creon eventually repents for his actions, it is too late. Creon’s wife and son commit suicide, and the King of Thebes is left to wallow in his sadness.
Fans of Seamus Heaney | History Buffs | Adult Audiences
Know Before You Go
- Photo and video recording are not allowed during the show.
- Latecomers may not be admitted if no suitable break is available during the performance.
The show is recommended for viewers over the age of 14.
To be confirmed.
The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre has a seating capacity of 582.
Smart and casual wear is recommended. Keep in mind, the theater is air conditioned throughout the year and can get a bit chilly.
All West End show tickets are non-refundable.
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