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Mace & Crown | June 22, 2017

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'The Burial at Thebes' Comes to ODU'S Goode Theater

‘The Burial at Thebes’ Comes to ODU’S Goode Theater
Kevin Washington
Contributing Writer

Coming this week at the Goode Theater, the ODU Theatre Department will be presenting one of their biggest plays of the year: “The Burial at Thebes.” Originally written by Seamus Heaney and directed for ODU by Steve Earley, the student-run project is an observation between human rights and the belief in security of the state.

The play is set during ancient times in the beautiful city of Thebes. Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, is the main character of the story. Antigone learns the brutal details that her brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, have killed each other while fighting on opposing sides of a bloody civil war. Creon, the newly appointed King and Antigone’s uncle, crowns Eteocles a brave war hero for fighting for his homeland. Meanwhile, Polyneices is ordered to rot and remain festering on the battlefield, considered a traitor to his homeland and family.

King Creon mandates that anyone who defies his order will be made an example of for helping a traitor. Going against the King’s judgment, Antigone gets caught defying the mandate and is punished by being cast into a cave and left for dead.

The play shines light on Antigone’s eternal struggle with whether she should defy the order of the new, power-hungry king, or stand by her morals with her family. A pivotal point of the play is the interworking between an individual freedom and the harsh, and sometimes pointless, restrictions of the state. The play also shadows the age-old interaction of men versus women.

Heaney’s 2004 “The Burial of Thebes” is based on the Greek tragedy, “Antigone,” by Sophocles. The play is making its traction in theaters all over the world. The play was first produced for the Abbey Theatre in London and has been shown in the Globe Theatre. After being all over the world, “The Burial at Thebes” is now gracing ODU.

Harry Danby discussed his hand in the play and how excited he is for the show to take off. Danby will be acting in as Eteocles, a noble king who will be seen in the very forefront of the play. He will also be reciting chorus commentary throughout the play. Over the last couple of months, Danby has developed a great bond with his fellow cast mates, having spent numerous hours practicing and helping each other with their lines.

He is excited for the premiere, making the joke that he hopes not to get stage fright. Even so, he seems to display the utmost confidence in his performance and will be ready when the bright lights hit him. Danby is a senior with a deep passion for film and cinematography. During his first audition, he didn’t think he would get the part. However, he won over the casting director with his skills. According to Danby, the play is “a stunning glimpse into patriarchy love and honor for family.”

It’s easy to see that the Theatre Department works extremely hard on these productions. They take many pieces of the puzzle to put together some amazing performances, not only for ODU students and staff but for the community of Norfolk as well. “The Burial at Thebes” premieres Nov. 9 and will run until Nov. 19 at the Goode Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.