Audition for “Antigone”

Show Description:
Antigone is an ancient Greek tragedy, originally written by Sophocles in 441 BCE, that remains one of the most inspiring of classic tales. The third chapter in the famous Oedipus trilogy, it centers around Oedupis’s daughter Antigone in the aftermath of a battle for the throne that leaves both her brothers dead. Antigone’s uncle Kreon, is appointed king and sets down a deadly decree that one brother be buried and the other disgraced. Driven by familial devotion, Antigone knowingly defies the law and is sentenced to death. A wonderful war of wills that leaves few unharmed, Antigone examines issues of law and morality that are just as prevalent today as they were in Sophocles’ time.

Important Dates:
Auditions Dates: February 22nd
Callbacks February 23rd
Show Dates: April 21-23

Please Prepare and memorize a 1-minute monologue from an Ancient Greek or Roman play for your audition. If you have questions, please see Ms. Figg-Franzoi in the Black Box.

Antigone (20s): The daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta and sister of Polynices, Eteocles, and Ismene. Antigone is the play’s protagonist. She is a young, headstrong, recent college graduate who challenges her uncle and the state in order to bury her brother Polynices. Her worldview is tied to her rigid black-and-white moral code and her character is defined by a passion for justice and doing what is right.  

Ismene (20s): The sister of Antigone and her foil. Ismene is much more rational than her sister, and while she is incredibly loyal to her family she is cautious about challenging the law. Ismene embodies a more passive form of resistance. 

Chorus (any age): The Chorus, made up of 14 members, represents the people of the play in a no-place no-time dictatorship. We will create this world as we create the play. Characters could be office workers, janitors, soldiers, secretaries, etc. The chorus serves as witnesses and commentators to the events of the play. They are directly impacted by the events of the play, but unable to interact with them or change their course. 

Choragus (any age): The Choragus, or chorus leader, serves as the link between the chorus and the political actors in the play. Unlike the rest of the chorus, the Choragus interacts frequently and directly with Creon, questioning the unfolding events but refraining from interference.

Creon (60s): Creon is Antigone’s uncle/aunt and the newly appointed leader of an unstable city-state. They are primarily motivated by their perceived duty as head of state which they place over their duty to family. They are the play’s primary antagonist, but they are far from a villain. They too hold a black-and-white view of the world and through the play is committed to doing what they think is right.  

Sentry (any age): Assigned to guarding Polynices’s body, the Sentry is tasked with reporting his burial, and Antigone’s treachery, to Creon. Their role serves as comedic relief. 

Haemon (30s): Antigone’s fiancé and Creon’s last living son. Haemon works as a legislative assistant to his father. Caught in the conflict between Antigone and his father, Haemon represents a transition from the acquiescence of childhood to independent adulthood. He is motivated by his deep love for Antigone.  

Tiresias (40s and older): Tiresias is a blind prophet who warns Creon that the gods do not approve of his treatment of Polyneices’ body, or the punishment of Antigone. He is the personified presence of the God’s will. He is wise, calm, and unnatural.

Messenger (any age): An objective storyteller, the messenger bears the news of tragedy to Eurydice and later Creon.  

Eurydice (60s): Creon’s wife and Haemon’s mother. Eurydice is defined by her love for her family and the deep sense of loss she harbors after the death of all of her children.  

Written around 441 BC, Sophocles’ Antigone celebrates the first heroine in the full sense of the word. Antigone is the first conscientious objector, opposing Creon, King of Thebes, and what she sees as his unjust laws. The play is often performed as veiled criticism of the government prevailing at the time to show that something is rotten in that particular state.  

There are many conflicting interpretations of this play which some have claimed was the finest play ever written. Some modern commentators see right only in Antigone, and view Creon as a stereotypical dictator in the wrong. However things are not so simple in Sophocles’ play. In Antigone, two rights are opposed: the right of the family against the rights of the state. Familial values conflict with state interests, and the duty towards the gods is opposed to the duty of obeying the ruler. Personal issues confront public issues, and they radically influence each other. 

More than an opposition of rights, however, this play brilliantly shows us the opposition of two passionate people (Creon and Antigone) who go hell-bent to their own destruction. Antigone’s hot-headedness is particularly clear in a couple of brutal exchanges with her sister. Nevertheless she is indisputably a heroine who knows her duty to her family.  

Creon opposes Antigone with the might of law on which he says personal happiness is based, namely through a well-controlled city. With Sophocles’ usual dramatic economy, Antigone is punished by the ruler whose laws she opposes, and Creon is punished by the loss of his own family, whose values he subordinated to those of that city. 

Creon tries to be the best ruler he can be and to benefit the city. There were precedents in ancient Greece for not burying the body of one’s enemy. Antigone is also right to honor the proper burial that the gods claim. Both should have compromised, but neither did. That’s why we have a tragedy.

The play illustrates how both human beings and cities thrive on compromise.           

The choruses in this play speak of all that concerns man: victory, defeat, life, death, love, hate, crime and punishment. As usual, Greek tragedy gives us insight into ourselves and asks questions. Who is the best person to lead others? Should we take a stand as Antigone does when we see clearly that something is wrong? Or should we choose Ismene’s part, the one who compromises, and follows the leader in every sense of the word? That choice is yours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s