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A CurtainUp Review
By Jenny Sandman
Adapted from Sophocles Fire Throws weaves the story of the classical Antigone with her modern, 2400-year-old counterpart. The modern Antigone looks back on her younger self and attempts to make sense of it all. Of course, in a modern setting, her story doesn't make much sense. Martyrdom for any cause is no longer fashionable, especially for a cause like burying your brother. It's a noble gesture, and standing up to Creon's megalomania is admirable, but it's hardly worth dying for and on some level Antigone knows that—especially when her rumination is measured by what her life could have become. She could have been a queen, could have had children, known love. Instead she died, chained in a cave, victim of her own youthful stubbornness.
The production is a swirl of competing imagery, dances, colors and sounds. At times it is stark, with Ingmar Bergman-like black-and-white video projections and long shadows. At other times it is a riot of color and light and long red silk scarves. Again, it's a very pretty show and technically almost brilliant. But it ultimately felt cold. The characters never really came alive for me, caught as they were in their own stilted, 2400-year-old language and intricate dance pieces that failed to reveal any real information. At times it seemed as if the director was more concerned with the conflicting colors and shapes, the dichotomy between the dances and the video projections, than in telling a story.
I don't think this Antigone came to any real epiphany about her story or her place in history, and certainly the other characters were there merely to support her own internal explorations. Perhaps Antigone just wasn't meant to be an interpretive dance piece.