ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — A Greek classic comes to St. Bonaventure University this week. SBU Theater will present “The Burial At Thebes,” an adaptation of Sophocles’ “Antigone” by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, March 23-26 at 7:30 p.m. in The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on campus.
Heaney’s version of Sophocles’ “Antigone” tells the dramatic story of the children of Oedipus, cursed by the gods for their father’s mistake. The acts of passion and retribution are retold this time in the spare, modern language that is the hallmark of Heaney’s writing. Heaney originally wrote “The Burial at Thebes” for the 100th anniversary of Dublin’s famous Abbey Theatre.
St. Bonaventure theater and journalism/mass communication major Erin Lowry will play Antigone, and theater major Lizzy Vivino will play her sister, Ismene.
Brett Keegan, last seen as Van Helsing in “Dracula,” will play King Creon. Ian Rogers, also seen in “Dracula,” plays Haemon, Antigone’s husband-to-be. Theater major Karim Troncelliti (Dracula himself) plays the blind seer Tiresias. SBU Theater veteran Cameron DeOrdio plays the Guard. Samantha Berkhead is Eurydice, and theater major Emily West is the Messenger.
The cast includes theater majors Tara Gillis, Brook Perkins, Ashley Waterman, and theater minors Mike Dlugosz, Makeda Loney, and Paul Bremmer, and newcomer Liz Peskor.
Brittany Henry, SBU theater veteran and now a grad student at St. Bonaventure, is also in the ensemble and serves as the production’s choreographer. Monica Edwards is the production stage manager, assisted by theater major Justin Carter.
Production techs include theater minors Sean O’Shea and Tawana Jones-Smith, as well as Leanna Chojnacki, Katie Reusch, Mallory Dieffenbach and Abigail Szal. “The Burial at Thebes” also has Tia Torrey, a student at Empire State College, completing an internship as production dramaturg.
The setting for “The Burial at Thebes” will be as sharp and bare as Heaney’s language, with only metal scaffolding and chain-link fence. Director Ed. Simone, Ph.D., professor of theater, and designer Rebecca Misenheimer, assistant professor of theater, want to convey an environment of unrest, a society emerging from a long struggle.
“The forces of tradition and religion tangle with the passions of individuals in the ‘Antigone’ story,” says Simone. “We want to make very clear the present day resonances. This is a tale that’s been affecting audiences for 2,500 years.”
Live music will be part of the action on stage as St. Bonaventure music faculty and student musicians provide original musical scoring for “The Burial at Thebes.”
“Everyone in the cast is part of the chorus,” said Ashley Waterman, a junior theater and English dual major. “The main characters become part of the chorus when their featured character is not on stage. This is because in real life everyone is part of a society and we want to be able to create that feeling on the stage.”
“The Burial At Thebes” will be performed in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts Wednesday, March 23, through Saturday, March 26. All shows are at 7:30 p.m. After the Friday night performance, March 25, there will be an audience talkback — an opportunity for theater-goers to ask the cast, crew, designer and director any questions they might have and discuss the production.
Reservations for “The Burial At Thebes” will be taken at the Quick Center’s box office in person or by phone at (716) 375-2494. Seats are $8 for the general public, $6 for seniors, Quick Center subscribers, students, and SBU employees. Any unsold tickets are available as free student rush seats at the Quick Center’s box office with a valid student ID beginning at 6:30 p.m. (one ticket per ID will be issued, in person only).
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. No wonder U.S. News and World Report has for years considered us a “Great School at a Great Price.”