This modern retelling of the famous Greek tragedy shows the price a young woman must pay to defy an unjust law.
(Sarasota, Florida) FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training presents Antigone, Jean Anouilh’s retelling of Sophocles’ classic tale, April 8-27, 2014, at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $29 evenings; $28 matinees. Students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket purchase. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Asolo Rep’s box office at the FSU Center for Performing Arts; 941-351-8000. Pay What You Can Night: On Tuesday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., audience members are invited to attend a production of Antigone and pay whatever they can afford for their ticket. These special tickets are available on the day of performance only.
This FSU/Asolo Conservatory production will be directed by Andrei Malaev-Babel, Head of Acting at the Conservatory. He sees Anouilh’s play as a cry for freedom. “Antigone refuses to compromise for political reasons,” he says. “She refuses to abandon her youthful ideals. She must remain true to herself, even at the expense of her own life.” In 1944, when Jean Anouilh wrote Antigone, and Nazi occupiers had consolidated their grip on France, this was dangerous thinking. Anouilh’s reinvention of Sophocles’ tragic heroine quickly took on a life of its own. The French resistance saw a kindred soul in Antigone. She became a compelling symbol of the defiant human spirit—willing to stand up to unjust power, no matter what the personal cost.
Malaev-Babel knows what that’s like on a personal level.
“I grew up in the former Soviet Union,” he says. “In that society, the question of compromising one’s ideals for the sake of survival was very real. For artists, scientists, and ordinary people across society, that question was inescapable.” He adds that, “The question hasn’t gone away today. The world of our time is filled with turmoil. There are still many oppressors, big and small, obvious and subtle. And tens of thousands of people still pay a price for standing up for their ideals.”
As Malaev-Babel sees it, Antigone goes deeper than the struggle against political oppression. It speaks of the struggle against all oppression—including the built-in oppression of the adult world. “Maturity is often defined as compromise,” he says. “For many, growing up means betraying youthful ideals. If that’s the price, Antigone refuses to grow up; she will never become an old soul. Others, like Creon, were born with old souls. They had no ideals to abandon in the first place. But they are smart; they know they’re inadequate, and they envy the Joan of Arcs, Giordano Brunos and Antigones of this world—all the inconvenient heretics who would rather die than renounce their truth. Antigone is an eternal play, which is why it will always be contemporary.”
Malaev-Babel adds that set designer Rick Cannon and costume designer David Covach are working to create the fantastical world of Anouilh’s Antigone, one in which ancient Greece fuses with Nazi-occupied Europe.
Antigone runs April 8-27, 2014, at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Productions are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $29 evenings; $28 matinees. Students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket purchases. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Asolo Rep’s box office at the FSU Center for Performing Arts; 941-351-8000.
About the Director
Andrei Malaev-Babel is the Head of Acting and an Associate Professor of Theatre at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. He served as an Artistic Director for the Stanislavsky Theater Studio (STS) in Washington, DC, where he was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. For STS, he co-adapted, directed and/or played leading roles in productions, such as Goethe’s Faust, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Chekhov’s The Seagull, Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor, Brian Friel’s Fathers and Sons, Moliere’s Le Malade Imaginaire, Gogol’s Dead Souls and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. He enjoyed engagements at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Smithsonian Institution, The World Bank, Kennedy Center, Young Vic Company (London, UK) and at the International Volkov Theatre Festival (Yaroslavl, Russia). Mr. Malaev-Babel’s pioneering two volumes on the influential Russian director Yevgeny Vakhtangov were recently published by Routledge. Malaev-Babel taught on the faculty of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and currently serves on the board and as a member of the international faculty for MICHA, Michael Chekhov Association in New York City. In 1985, Malaev-Babel co-founded the Moscow Chamber Forms Theater, one of the first private professional theater companies in Russia. He trained and worked under Alexandra Remizova, the actress-director and co-founder of the Vakhtangov Theater, Stanislavsky’s student and Vakhtangov’s protégé.
About The Conservatory
The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is a celebrated three-year graduate program culminating in a master of fine arts degree. For more than 35 years, tens of thousands of actors from across the continent have auditioned for admission. A maximum of 12 students are admitted each year. In their second year, the students perform in the Cook Theatre, a 161-seat space designed to create an intimate experience for the audience and actors. Third-year students are seen on the Mertz Stage working with the Asolo Rep’s professional actors in exciting and significant roles. For more information, visit www.asolorep.org/conservatory.