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Antigone Interactive: Che Guevara T-shirts and Poseurish Politics?
arts and media |
Friday September 22, 2006 03:16 by Pinhead
Lightswitch productions attempt the 'ridiculously serious and the seriously ridiculous.'
Lightswitch is a Dublin based production company promising to bring theatre goers the 'ridiculously serious and the seriously ridiculous.' If its chaotic humour and a theatre of the absurd they aspire to then through a healthy mangling of a Greek classic with Antigone Interactive, they hit the nail partially on the head but falter at the point of audience interaction and political depth. The Antigone lead comes across oozing sassy stylistic rebellion like a photo shot prepped baile funk star MIA - all gun belt for show and Che Guevara t-shirt as poseurish portend to an inevitable martyrdom for ritually burying her brother against her father's edicts.
A Poster for the show on the window of the international bar.
Her father of course is Creon and in keeping with the pisstake atire of the rest of the cast he has the physical presence of Only Fools and Horse's Boycie in a South American junta costume straight from the back of Del Boy's mini-van. With speeches conciously echoing some of the 'with us or against us' discourse of the war on terror, he melds in and out of purposefully two dimensional political caricatures that add the main political punch to a play that uses circled "A's" on its posters but fails to develop any political depth beyond a rather cliched critique of the gap between democratic vision and practice.
The play makes much of the idea of modern politician as celebrity, with Creon's playing to the spectacle adding to the depth of cheering coming from the plebs of Thebes played by the audience. The final vote on the life of Antigone uses a method taken straight from the world of reality TV - not so much referendum ordered with reason, judgement and debate but screaming praise accompanied by flashing bike lights. The play fails to provoke you into thinking or in illustrating political points and its impossible to escape a cyncism that leaves you wondering if the politics are just prittsticked on to make the radical modernisation easier or is it more purposeful? The play is however a rather mad cap hour that hurtles along propelled by both visual and one-line humour to a finish that leaves a grin sitting on your face.
The production bills itself as interactive and from the off Antigone circulates political leaflets in the crowd. A twenty minute delay in starting the play comes off like a tactical coup, leaving the audience free to down a quick pint to ease themselves into the atmosphere and the small upstairs in the International Bar lends itself perfectly to the mood. Disappointingly mainly the interaction involves responding to cue cards flapped around by the chorus. Surely there's more of an opportunity to entrench the interaction by providing the audience with random scripts where they are cued into read or contribute at certain moments? If there has to be a star, then mention has to go to Ben Mulhern who's manic performace as the sentry held the play together from the start.
The play might not have the theatrical depth and joculeur brilliance of Dario Fo but it attempts to tread through similar waters and those are waters I like swimming in. Its a popular theatrical form with a concious anti-aesthetic that regales in an amateurish anarchy that successfully contributes to the overall absurdity. This play could really retain its farcical warmth but push the audience still further in both raising nervous hairs of forced interaction on their necks and provoking political debate among them if it had a tightened script and a more complex political delving,
The play runs upstairs in the International Bar every evening at 18-30 pm until September 24th. Its 10e.
King Creon condemns Antigone