Interview with Marcus Romer and two members of the Antigone cast
On Tuesday 2nd of September I had the pleasure of interviewing Marcus Romer the director of Pilot Theatre's forthcoming production of Antigone. This is a new adaptation for our times by award winning writer Roy Williams and opens at Derby Theatre on the 19th September until 4th October.
Antigone is produced by Theatre Royal Stratford East, Pilot Theatre and Derby Theatre and looks to be a highlight of their current season. Playwright Roy Williams has taken Sophocles play and placed it in a contemporary setting bringing Thebes into the 21st Century re-enforcing this dark tale's relevance and vitality.
Derby Theatre are also hosting a writing Master Class with Roy Williams on Wednesday 24th September and Pilot Theatre and their directorial team are offering a Pilot Theatre Master Class exploring the way they harness emergent technologies in this forthcoming production of Antigone. This will take place Saturday 4th October at Derby Theatre.
Joining me in the interview were Marc Monero (Creon) and Doreene Blackstock as (Creon's wife Eunice) and Heidi McKenzie of Derby Theatre. I had just had the good fortune to sit in on one of their exciting rehearsals.
Marcus was keen to promote the story of Antigone as a timeless story about loyalty, universal truths and the often dark side of human nature and human frailties. He also said that it is also about atrocious acts that are committed at the time of war – the heads on spikes – situations that warn people/ the enemy of the utter danger of betraying those in power. Antigone's brother is killed and Creon refuses to let the body be moved from the place where he has fallen – in the street – and Antigone defies king Creon by taking away the body and burying it. His reaction is to bury the woman Antigone alive as a public punishment for defying his laws.
I asked actors Mark Monero (Creon) and Doreene Blackstock (Eunice) if there was any time during the play that we see a softer side of Creo (as he is known in this adaptation) through their portrayal as husband and wife. They laughed and quickly conceded that there wasn't. He even casts out his own son who tries to make his Dad aware that the people are turning against him.
During the interview we shared some personal stories of difficult issues within family units, stubborn parents mainly and concluded that the themes of the play are timeless. There was also an agreement that the audiences should recognise these situations as things we experience through the news today and sometimes directly. This play is a precursor to plays about warring factions and families such as Romeo and Juliet and the often tragic results of their quarrelling.
After recently reviewing a brilliant production of Spring Awakening by Headlong Theatre Company that used multi-media extensively as a story telling tool, I was keen to hear about the use of multi-media in this play. Marcus explained that the 'Gods' in the play are theatrically established by being 'all seeing' surveillance cameras in the street and the use of mobile phone videos are utilised as a device to show the memories of Creon as he reflects back upon his life of mismanaged earthly power and corruption and regrets.
Finally, I asked about how the play would work in the classical Greek sense of a catharsis at the end. Marcus smiled a secretive smile and agreed that there IS a catharsis at the end after all the theatrical demands of the story BUT the audience will have to wait and find out what it is!
Check out Pilot's website for more details on the rehearsals
Antigone will be touring through nationally Autumn 2014 and playing at Theatre Royal Stratford East Spring 2015.
Photo images copyright Robert Day.