Antigonie is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles written before or in 442 BC.
It is chronologically the third of the three Theban plays but was written first.  The play expands on the Theban legend that predated it. Traditionally a play like Antigonie would have been preformed during festivals to thousands of people. Greek plays like this usually contained up too three actors and a large chorus who would narrate all the events and keep the audience up to date.
This chorus was usually full of ordinary people from the village. Antigone would have traditionally been preformed in an Amphitheater, with the audience in a semicircle around the performers, who would have acted the play out on a raised platform as well as a smaller area lower down. For this reason if I was staging a performance of Antigonie I would choose to hold it in the round. I would still have a raised platform for the principal actors to perform on, but would position the chorus all around the bottom of this platform.This would work well for two reasons, one because the chorus would be able to interact with the audience and the actors and two because it enables them to remain central to the action, but still appear less important then the other actors, who would be playing the Gods as well as various kings and queens.
The first line the chorus speak takes place just after their has been action on stage involving Antigonie and her sister Ismene.During the time that this action is being played out I would have the chorus crouched down on the ground with their back to the audience so that they will not distract from the action on stage. When the first coral line “Welcome, light of the sun, the fairest sun that ever has dawned upon Thebes the city of seven gates,” is said, I would have half of the chorus raise and turn up, (the chorus line would alternate so one person would raise up whilst the one next to him remained still and so on. )As well as this I would keep the raised members of the chorus with their backs to the audience until they spoke the words, “The city of seven gates. ” When the chorus are speaking about the sun from; “Welcome light of the sun,” until “dawned upon Thebes” I would have each of the stood up chorus members raising their left arms slowly upwards as if they are extending them towards the sun. On the word “Thebes,” I would get them to snap their hands down towards their sides and turn sharply clockwise until they are facing the audience.This will give some contrast between the soft welcoming of the sun and the hard structure of the gates.
To indicate this I would ask them to stand ridgedly, with straight backs and their arms firmly to their sides. After this line I would get the first set of chorus members to put their heads down and stand still. I would then get the set of chorus members who are still crouched down to stand up slowly on the words; “At last thou has arisen.
” Making sure that they are standing straight on the word, “arisen. ” They would not be facing the audience at this point.The same chorus members would then begin to extend both their arms slowly upwards towards the sky on the lines. “Great Orb of shining day. ” Making sure that their arms are fully extended by the word “day.
” This would help to indicate to the audience how special this sun is too them, and will give the impression that due to the tragedies that have been taking place in Thebes, (the civil war ect,) that such a wonderful day is a rarity. I would continue this movement by directing the chorus to then bring their arms down slowly to their sides on the line; “Pouring light across. And slowly begin to turn anticlockwise whilst doing this. When their arms are firmly by their sides and they are facing the audience on the word, “across,” I would then get the chorus to raise their left arms and point them across their chest on the words, “Gleaming water of Dirk. ” I would make the choruses hands flat, and on the word “Dirk,” I would make their hands snap to their sides.
During these two choral speeches I would make the chorus have no expression on their faces.I would also keep spread this into their voices and make them keep them flat and toneless, although I would make them have their voices loud so that they would carry across the audience. This would make them seem indifferent to what has happened, and will give the impression that they are the dead who have fought in the battle so they have no part in their surroundings This will continue during the next line where the entire chorus will join together, (the first group will lift their heads up sharply at this point. ) The section witch starts; “Thou hast turned into headlong flight,” will be chanted by all the chorus.
At the word; “Thou,” All of the chorus will turn clockwise to face the raised pillar and they will point at the actor positioned in the middle of the stage who will be representing Polyneicces. This actor will be stood with his hand on his hips in a very arrogant fashion with his legs sped slightly apart. His whole stance will be very open giving him the air of someone arrogant. All of the chorus will point their left arms at this figure, and they will remain their until the line “In full panoply came from Argos. ” Before this line the chorus will remain stationary with their arms pointing at the actor playing Polyneicces.They will chant the lines; “Thou hast turned into headlong flight galloping faster and faster the foe who bearing a snow-white shield.
” Simultaneously. The part about; “Galloping faster and faster,” will call for an increase in the pace of the chanting witch will slow down by the time they reach the point; “bearing a snow white shield. ” This line will cause the figure of Polyneicces to raise a shield above his head and a spotlight will be shined upon it so that everyone can see the shield. After this the choruses next line is “In full panoply came from Argos. At the start of the line; “in full. “The chorus will drop their arms to their sides sharply.
At the same time each choral member will turn anticlockwise until they are staring stage right. They will remain gazing at the wall for the next few words “panoply came from. ” And on the word, “Argos. ” All of the chorus members will raise their left hand and point to far downstage right. As before all the section just being said will be with a monotone chant, apart from the word “Thou,” Which will be said harshly due to them blaming Polyneicces for their deaths.All of the chorus will consist of men, who will all be dressed in light armor and bloodstained rags, to give the impression that they are the wounded soldiers.
In sharp contrast to the indifferent tones of voices in the first large section the second one from the lines; “He had come to destroy us,” to; “And plumes that swayed on their helmets. ” Will be spoken with more feeling, especially at the start anger at Polyneicces although their may be a touch of sadness for their lost lives as well.To start this section off I would again split the chorus into two halves, (the same that they were in before,) and allow the first group to start gain with the line; “He had cone to destroy us in Polyneicces fierce quarrel. ” For this I would get the chorus to continue their turn anticlockwise until they are again facing the stage. After they have done this they will all point their right arm at the figure of Polyneicces and shout the word; “HE,” so that the audience will know that Polyneicces is to blame. They will then chant the rest of the line in aggressive low voices.They will remain with their hands pointing at Polyneicces for the whole line and the second group’s line as well.
The second chorus group will then also finish their circle anticlockwise until they are facing the stage. They would do this the second the first group stopped speaking. They will all point their right arms at Polyneicces before they start to speak.
Like the first group, their first word; “He,” would be shouted loudly and aggressively, and the rest of their line; “brought them against our land. ” Would be chanted in aggressive voices.The two chorus groups would then join together to chant the remainder of the passage.
The first section; “And like some eagle screaming his rage,” All the chorus members will turn sharply clockwise to the audience. The line will be said in a chant, but the word screaming will be more pronounced then the others. The first chorus group will also take a step away from the stage at this point so they are nearer to the audience. This will separate them from the other group, and give the impression that the two groups are the different armies.The next line; “From the sky he descended upon us,” will also be chanted by the chorus, the two words; “Sky,” and “descended,” will be more pronounced then the others. The chorus will extend their arms upwards on the word; “Sky,” and will keep their palms flat so it looks like they are reaching up to heaven. The word; “descended,” however will be said more harshly and their extended arms will snap down to their sides’ in one sharp movement, giving the impression that they are lost souls.
For the next section the chorus groups will become more pronounces again although they will remain speaking at the same time.The first chorus group will turn to their left and the second chorus group to their left so that there are two people from the separate groups facing each other. This will happen when they chant the line, “With his armor about him, shining like snow. ” At5 this point the actor on the stage portraying Polyneicces, who will have remained in a stationary pose since the lines “bearing a snow white shield.
” Will move again, and will spread his arms out to his side until they are almost horizontal to his body.This will show his confidence in battle and possibly even his vainness, (the fact being that he suddenly burst back into action when his armor is mentioned, he could be proud of his armor if it is particularly grand. ) This could help support the entire reason that they went into battle, Polyneicces wanted to be the king of Thebes. For the next line the chorus who are still facing each other will chant; “with spear upon spear. ” As they are chanting the first group will step forward and extends their right arm as though they are pointing a spear at the member of group two they are facing.This will happen on the first bit of the line; “with spear. ” On the second part of the line; “upon spear,” the member of group two will mirror the action that their partner from group one has just done.
The last line of the section; “And with plumes that swayed on their helmets,” Will be chanted by the chorus in a rhythmatical manner. The chorus will still be in the positions that they were in for the line before, so they will say this line to their partners rather then too the audience per say.Greek theater is very complex with the chorus needing allot of choreography so that they are able to really translate the story to the watching audience. The version I would set of Antigone would be very simplistic and I would try to go back to its ancient roots. For this reason I may even set it outside.
By a good measure of chorus work, as well as different techniques used, such as costumes, to spread the story and let the audience, who wont know the full story as many of the Greeks watching the play thousands of years ago. I could assure that everyone enjoyed the experience.