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A Talk With Antigone

Due to the impact of COVID-19, theatre performances look a little bit different but are equally inspiring. I am proud to say that the Florida State University (FSU) School of Theatre is doing their part to make meaningful art for the student body, faculty and general public to enjoy. You do not want to miss this awe-inspiring production. During the week of March 11 to March 14, audiences can watch a virtual presentation of Antigone, directed by Mary Gundlach, translated by Don Taylor and written by Sophocles. 

Antigone is the story of the titular character’s journey of doing what is right and what that means for her city. After a civil war and the deaths of her siblings, Antigone must decide whether she will be complicit or forge a new path. At its core, Antigone is a story of grief, persistence and unwavering morals. Sophocles’ work has stood the test of time. Today, Antigone is a timely piece performed by talented students within the School of Theatre. I got the opportunity to gain insight from graduating senior Beth Slade, the lead actress in Antigone

Her Campus (HC): Tell me about your experience with FSU’s School of Theatre.

Beth Slade (BS): I have served on the Student Advisory Council for the School of Theatre for the last three years and was also a part of the Production Handbook Committee. Just last fall, I completed my honors in the major thesis, which I received an Idea Grant for. Over the last four years, I have performed in 15 productions varying from mainstages, graduate student projects and student theatre. It is bittersweet to be wrapping up my time in the program, but I am so thankful for the amazing faculty and administration who have supported and prepared me for the professional world.

antigone two people on zoom Photo by Renn Oberdick

HC: How did you become involved with Antigone

BS: I usually audition for the School of Theatre’s shows. After studying Greek theatre last spring and loving it, I was very excited about the possibility to work on Antigone and decided to focus on that show.

HC: What was the audition process like?

BS: The audition process was all over Zoom, which was a first for me. Our director, Mary, did a wonderful job making sure we were comfortable with the new format. I sent in a self-tape with my two contrasting monologues, then we had about three days of callbacks over Zoom before they released the cast list.

HC: As the lead role, how do you relate to Antigone?

BS: Antigone is a passionate young woman who fights for what she believes, and I think we share that trait. We are both a bit headstrong and stubborn at times, but ultimately it comes from a place of caring deeply. 

antigone small group photo Photo by Renn Oberdick

HC: Originally written by Sophocles in 441 BC, how is this play relevant in 2021?

BS: Antigone deals with loss and grief, which is very relevant in our current climate. The show is also about how families are divided over politics and values, and a reckoning between the elders and the youths of the city. 

HC: How is this play different from in-person plays that you have done in the past? 

BS: This process has been a huge learning curve for me. We rehearsed it like a play over Zoom, but we filmed all the scenes. Our director and production team will edit the footage together for the final show. It was weird not having a full picture of the show since we used green screens and didn't see our scene partners. I am very excited to see the final product! The Zoom platform is super difficult to adjust to, but I was impressed with the entire cast and crew's ability to adapt to the new form.

antigone full group photo on zoom Photo by Renn Oberdick

HC: In the age of COVID-19, what are your hopes for the future of theatre?

BS: I hope theatre continues to evolve and reflect the times. The theatre's ability to adapt to a virtual platform over the last year has opened so many discussions on what theatre is, and I have loved watching other artists play with and explore the form. I hope the theatre does not revert to old practices and ways of creating after this past year, and continues to move forward and learn from what we have collectively experienced. 

HC: Without giving away too much, how do you feel about the ending? 

BS: The ending of Antigone is intense; it displays how we all succumb to fate. I think the ending is beautiful, in a very sad way, as Creon grapples with the results of his actions.

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