Early in the spring semester of 2014, at the behest of Jean Alvares, a small bunch of departmental faculty members, both full-time and part-time, posted flyers advertising that we wanted to perform a Greek tragedy, Sophocles’ Antigone, outdoors in the Kasser Amphitheater. Twenty or so students, quite a few of them General Humanities majors or minors, attended that original meeting and expressed great enthusiasm: and so the Greek play project was born! We proceeded to put together, within about seven weeks, a production of Antigone. We did not attempt to modernize the text, although we allowed ourselves to take liberties with staging and used modern realistic acting techniques to tell the story clearly for our audience.
We used the resources of the cast–singers, composers, actors, dancers, costume designers, and more–to create a piece based on ancient performance conditions to some degree. The music was composed and sung by a student musician, Joe Vecchione, with Corey Ryzuk; costumes were designed and built on a true shoestring by a student Theater minor, Andy Bravo; choreography for the chorus was created and taught to the generally inexperienced chorus by a Dance student, Haley Yacos. It was important to us to perform in the outdoors “amphitheater” (really a Greek theater style structure built in 1936 under the WPA to accommodate just such performances, as well as
provide a public gathering place–which was also the purpose behind most Greek theaters in antiquity). We had 200+ spectators that first year, and have remained relatively consistent over three years in audience. We hope to gain more audience members this year, and perhaps even to take scenes or the entire play out into the off-campus community. All our performances are free, and open to all members of the public, on or off campus.