Not a student complained–”This again??” The Art & Culture classes at Lutheran Bilingual High School in Martin are always fun, but this time, students really got into the spirit with the ancient Greek drama, “Antigone.”
The latest Art & Culture class turned out to be a most popular program. The students’ task was to choreograph and perform the drama “Antigone,” a Greek tragedy written by dramatist, politician, and priest, Sophocles, in the late 440s B.C. The masterpiece “Antigone” is one of seven preserved tragedies written by Sophocles and provokes amazement with its story and action.
The students positioned themselves in front of the “king’s palace” in Thebes to portray the ancient mythic girl, Antigone. But before beginning, they strengthened their bodies with good food. “We started the performance with a feast,” said student Andy Snovakova. “Sitting around the tables and dressed up in white sheets, we pretended we were ancient Greeks enjoying a huge meal,” she added. “Our teacher joined the feast, said the toast, and we raised our plastic cups. We ate chips and crackers and drank mineral water!”
The second step was to empower the spirit. Students read the script together and suddenly became part of the play. They then dramatized the fourth act, where the heroine Antigone is led to a rocky sepulcher to die. Antigone cries out and compares her fate to Tantalus’s daughter’s destiny, who offended Apollo and Artemis and was turned into stone. But Antigone is ready to die for her convictions and actions.
Studying ancient drama is not just about the story. The high school students learned that early Greek actors used their voices alone for almost all dramatic effect. Facial expressions and gestures were not so important. “We tried doing it in the same way, and to emphasize [the importance of words over action] we made white paper masks to wear. The words, with voice and diction, was the most important part [of the play]” said one of the students.
Trying to perform a Greek tragedy believably, though, encouraged much fun and laughter. Special kudos goes out to Kristine, the student who played Antigone. According to her classmates: “She made such a superhuman effort at lying dead on the floor without any movement, that the other characters ended up falling down with laughter!”
“During the class we didn’t get any applause from the audience, but if we work hard enough with our acting talents, maybe one day…” thought student Andy Snovakova. Surely she is right! It’s a big challenge to match an ancient Greek actor’s level, but this dream can come true. Go for it, students of Lutheran High School! We’ll keep our fingers crossed!
Student Andy Snováková