A finely tuned production that shows off a talented ensemble and describes an enduring mystery, Michael Geither’s Ismene, directed by Daniel Mroz, takes us into the complex and precarious world of siblings Antigone and Ismene. As portrayed in Sophocles’ Antigone, Ismene is the saner sister who, while sympathetic to Antigone’s desire to do the right thing in burying their bother, is not prepared to endure the wrath of Uncle and King Creon for the sake of a corpse. Indeed, in both the original play, and in Geither’s text, Ismene is the one most anxious to cast off the mantle of the family tragedy for the pleasures of an ordinary life. But growing up under the shadow of incest and death places the normal out of reach. In this less than one-hour exploration of girlhood lived on the fringes of tragedy, the actors use singing, poetic encounters, movement, and a constantly shifting landscape of coffin-like boxes (courtesy of Paul Auclair) to express the isolation their parent’s fate has inflicted on their offspring. The poignant admission that it is Jocasta, their mother, who hanged herself, that they miss the most, rings particularly true. This chorus of actors, dancers and singers all deserve congratulations for excellent work. The uniform costumes of tank tops and shorts designed by Margaret Coderre-Williams contribute to a light and playful feel. While Mroz tells us that we really don’t know what Greek theatre might have looked like, one feels this play with its daring cast and well-balanced creative team has come awfully close.
Reviewed by laurie Fyffe. Photo courtesy of the University of Ottawa theatre department.
Ismène , written by Michael Geither , directed by Daniel Mroz
Cast: With: Emily Bertrand, Emma Hickey, Jasmine Massé, Montana Adams, Zaakirah Chubb, Sophie McIntosh, Stefanie Velichkin, Kiara Lynn Neï.
Venue: University of Ottawa, Academic Hall.