Greek tragedy, as performer Solène Weinachter points out, is full of bodies – dead ones, yes, but also the many that populate both stage and story, from the famous Greek chorus to the numerous characters in Greek familial lineage.
In Antigone, Interrupted, Joan Clevillé’s take on the Greek play, Weinachter is the only performer. “So wish me luck,” she quips as she begins.
Weinachter is compelling, switching deftly between characters. There are moments when a word is lost or intense concentration is required to keep track of things, but ultimately Antigone, Interrupted lays bare the bones of a complex story.
That feat is yet more remarkable as, with an empty stage and the audience seated in a circle, the production is reliant on nothing but the craft of the storytelling and its solo performer.
Images rapidly accumulate conjured by the words spoken and by the characters that Weinachter brings into existence. When language is no longer enough, Weinachter falls into movements that amplify the text’s emotional tension; a physical expression of a state that words cannot reach.
The intermittent breaks from the story – as Weinachter returns to herself or takes a seat among the audience – gently offer a wider perspective on the conflict and politics wrestled within the text but, crucially, Clevillé’s interpretation doesn’t push for a modern-day parallel. Instead it offers a strong, intelligent and courageously performed take on an ancient story, while subtly reminding us that its themes still resonate today.