Historical But Not Old – The Department of Theatre/Dance Presents Antigone

(UW-Whitewater, College of Arts and Communication, Department of Theatre/Dance submission) The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Department of Theatre/Dance continues with offering virtual events this Spring with the first production of “Antigone” by Sophocles. The virtual production will be released on March 8 at 7:30 p.m. Although tickets must be purchased by the 8th, the content will be available for viewing through March 14, 2021. Ticket prices are $13 for a single viewer ticket and $26 for a family viewing ticket for two or more. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at tickets.uww.edu or by calling (262) 472-2222. 

In the final chronological installment of the tale of Oedipus and his offspring, Antigone is torn between the laws of gods and men when she is forbidden from giving her fallen brother a proper burial. Featuring the world premiere of new compositions by student composer, Jace Banasik, this play may be historical, but it is anything but old.

Directed by alumna Sara J. Griffin, this production brings back memories of her time as a student at UW-Whitewater. “I remember learning about Greek Choruses in our Movement for the Actor course. Learning to speak and move in perfect synchronization with a large group of people was not something that came naturally to me. But it’s incredible and humbling when you and your group become an ensemble, and discover how powerful that type of storying telling can be. It’s not unlike watching a perfectly executed kick line at the end of “A Chorus Line” or a marching band turn their lines into Harry Potter flying on a broomstick. Ancient Greek plays aren’t something that I have had the opportunity to be a part of in my professional acting work, and I am happy to return to it. I am continually amazed that ideas debated and written about almost 2500 hundred years ago are still the headlines of our news today.”

Adding a bit of flair to this historical Greek drama will be newly composed music developed by Banasik and the chorus members themselves, in collaboration with Music Director, Robert Gehrenbeck. “The chorus parts in Greek tragedies were definitely sung originally, but there are only fragments of actual Greek music that survive from this time period. Jace, the chorus members, and I have used these fragments as inspiration for creating new music in the style of the original melodies and rhythms. This process of discovery and invention has been thrilling for all involved, and the singers and I look forward to sharing this enthralling music as part of this unique production.”

A senior majoring in Music, Banasik is serving as the Composer and Sound Designer for the production. He first collaborated with the Department of Theatre/Dance on the production of “Vanity Fair” in the Fall 2020 semester. Banasik says, “The most difficult and exciting part about this process was writing the music for the chorus to sing. I wanted to make it reflective of what we know about the music from that time period, while almost putting a modern and artistic twist on it. We don’t know much about the music the Ancient Greeks had written, but we know just enough for us to use. I’m very excited for everyone to see the show, and to appreciate the amount of time and effort that was put in by the cast and crew.”

This production is a senior project for three different Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) students: Costume Designer, Carlee Wuchterl; Lighting Designer, Nicolas Sole; and Stage Manager, Alden Swanson. Chair of the Department of Theatre/Dance, Marshall Anderson states “Senior projects are an integral part of the educational process for our students before they leave UW-Whitewater. These projects allow them to experience firsthand what they will be doing once they are working professionally in their respective fields.” Lighting Designer, Sole says, “The senior project is an important capstone where I am able to use all the skills that I learned over the past four years. With Antigone,  I can use those skills whilst adding new skills in the process with our new digital format. “This project gives me the opportunity to not only learn deeper design, research, and collaboration skills, but also various technical skills such as dyeing fabrics, metal and jewelry making, and draping techniques. Not only has it taught me various new things, but I also get to work amongst peers, professors, and guest designers to create a new way of telling a story” says Wuchterl. “I am excited to finish this chapter of my life on a high note” says Swanson. Following graduation, Wuchterl hopes to attend graduate school for an MFA in Costume Design and Technology and eventually teach at the university level, Sole plans to attend graduate school and Swanson has a goal of pursuing work in theater to apply the skills he has learned at UW-Whitewater.

Jamie Love as Antigone (Photo by Nic Sole; Note: All photos were taken using COVID-19 safety protocol)
Robert Chelius as Haemon (Photo by Nic Sole)
Ivy Teege as Tiresias (Photo by Nic Sole)

The cast includes lead actress Jamie Love in the role of Antigone; Bryce Giammo as Creon; Robbie Chelius as Haemon; Megan Wroblewski as Ismene; Ivy Steege as Tiresias; Michael Garcia as Watchman; Katie Aldred as Eurydice and a chorus member; and Erin McKee, Natalie Meikle, Molly Wanless, and Anna Tolle as chorus members.

The creative  team includes Director Sara J. Griffin; Music Director Robert Gehrenbeck; Technical Director Ruth Conrad-Proulx; Stage Manager Alden Swanson; Assistant Stage Manager Samantha Ness; Scenic Designer Steve Barnes; Costume Designer Carlee Wuchterl; Hair and Makeup Designer Lydia Oestreich; Lighting Designer Nicolas Sole; Sound Designer Banasik; Props Master Abby Smith-Lezama; and mentors Eric Appleton (Lighting), Ruth Conrad-Proulx (Sound) and Tracey Lyons (Costumes). 

The virtual production of “Antigone” will be released on March 8 at 7:30 pm. Although tickets must be purchased by the 8th, the content will be available for viewing through March 14, 2021. Ticket prices are $13 for a single viewer ticket and $26 for a family viewing ticket for two or more. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at tickets.uww.edu or by calling (262) 472-2222. 

ICKETS: Once you purchase tickets, you will receive an email confirming your purchase. On March 8th, you will receive an email with a link for the digital production content. This content will be available through March 14, 2021 for viewing. I

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