UNCW Department of Theatre Presents The Burial at Thebes, Feb. 18-21 and 25-28

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The UNCW Department of Theatre continues its 2015-2016 season by bringing Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney’s adaptation of Sophocles’ great tragedy Antigone to the stage. Under the direction of professor Paul Castagno, The Burial at Thebes runs on the Mainstage Theatre in the UNCW Cultural Arts Building Feb. 18-21 and 25-28.

Commissioned to mark the 100th anniversary of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in 2004, The Burial at Thebes contrasts darkness and humanity through modern interpretation, while retaining the poetry of the original language and story.

Set at the end of the Theban civil war, King Creon has declared that Polyneices, who was killed after attacking Thebes, be denied burial for being a traitor to the city. Antigone, Polyneices’ heartbroken sister, asserts she has a right to bury her brother and vows to defy Creon’s order.

While many productions of this play use a contemporary setting, Castagno has set Antigone’s struggle for justice against impossible odds in an Etruscan setting.

“This Mediterranean setting has been designed to feature the tragic battle between what has been called the contrasting Apollonian (logical) and Dionysian (emotional) impulses of human nature,” he said. This is the seventh Mainstage production Castagno has directed for UNCW.

The production also features a diverse cast of talented theatre students. One of the chorus members, Marscia Martinez-Mendoza, is also an accomplished viola player.

“We have added original music that allows a number of the choral odes to be sung,”said Castagno. “Some of the musical selections were derived from Ancient Greek chants, such as the Song of Seikilos, which is the oldest extant Greek song. The musical and dance elements are faithful to how these tragedies were meant to be performed. Audiences familiar with reading Greek drama will be struck by seeing a Greek tragedy rendered theatrically.”

The Burial at Thebes will run at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public; $12 for seniors, UNCW employees and alumni and $6 for students (sales tax included.)

Tickets are available for purchase in person or online via the Kenan Box Office or by calling 910.962.3500. They may be bought in person an hour before each show.

-- Caroline Cropp