Media releases

  • Antigone explores modern ideas through classic Greek tragedy

    MEDIA RELEASE: 15 October 2018 – R00180

    Sophocles’ Antigone may be more than 2,500 years old, but its relevance to the #MeToo and civil rights movements of today makes it resonate as strongly now as when it was first written.

    The new mainstage production from Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) tells the story of a woman rebelling against patriarchy and the establishment — a woman who is willing to sacrifice everything to stand up for what she believes is right.

    Antigone’s tragic protest against King Creon’s prohibition of mourning her dead brother makes the audience question what choice we have when our personal beliefs conflict with the laws of the state. The play also examines the effects that gender inequality and unbridled power have on society.

    DART faculty member Mike Griffin, who adapted and directs the production that will run at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, said the classic Greek tragedy was the perfect fit for the first mainstage performance of the 2018-19 season.

    “Antigone is one of the oldest examples of a powerful, independent female character in theatre and literature,” he said. “It is eerily unfortunate that this ancient world, in which she was born, has many similarities to the one we currently live in, and through that I think the play really speaks to today.

    “I also think it’s a fantastic challenge for my students to dive into a story that is really valued as such an influential, classical text.”

    Adam Rappold, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics, worked with Griffin and the cast to dissect the Greek text and highlight major themes of the play pertinent to today’s audiences.

    “It is a work which manages to be, at once, both bewitchingly alien while still also familiar enough that it could have been ripped from today’s headlines,” Rappold said. “More pressingly for our current moment, it is likely the voice and personality of Antigone herself who continues to speak to audiences — a powerful and decidedly female scream of rage against iniquity and oppression, which, even after more than two centuries, refuses to be silenced.”

    With a contemporary approach to an ancient story, this production blends classical text with movement and image-based storytelling and explores a rich score of ensemble choral voices. The adaptation explores a shattered world touched by both contemporary and ancient times through a collage of poetry and physical theatre.

    “My vision is to paint Antigone as a strong woman, with the caveat that a strong woman should not be a stereotype but a norm that we are very familiar with,” Griffin said. “Hopefully her presence in standing up for what she believes in is something that can potentially propel audiences forward to feel confident in thinking that ‘when injustice happens to me, I will stand up for what’s right.’”

    The set and costumes for Antigone were designed by Brock Dramatic Arts Instructor Kelly Wolf, lighting was designed by Chris Malkowski and sound designed by Visual Arts Media Resource Co-ordinator Max Holten-Anderson (BMus ’10).

    The production showcases the talents of students in the DART undergraduate program. Student performers include Catherine Tait, Tristan Holmes, Alexandra Chubaty Boychuk, Matt Burt, Taj-Alexander Crozier, Tyler Simpson, Colin Williams, Mae Smith, Grace Martins, Samantha Rideout, Katie Cole, Diego Blanco, Heather Janser and James Dengate.

    Other student crew members include: Avery Delaney (Dresser), Peter Herbert (Stage Carpenter), Molly Lacey (Dresser), Sid Malcolm (Sound Operator), Heidi Nickel (Lighting Operator) and Jackson Wagner (Props Runner).

    Antigone runs Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 28 at 2 p.m., and Nov. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a high school matinee on Nov. 2 at 11:30 a.m. The evening performance on Nov. 2 will include an American Sign Language interpreter for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

    The production will run at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    Tickets for the show are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. There’s also a $10 group rate and a $5 eyeGo high school program rate available. Tickets are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office at 905-688-0722 or on the PAC website.

    Media are invited to attend the event.

    What: Special media day performance of selected scenes from Antigone

    When: Thursday, Oct. 18, 2 p.m.

    Where: Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Public talk and exhibition explore selfies and homeownership

    MEDIA RELEASE: 11 October 2018 – R00179

    While acclaimed artist Alejandro Cartagena’s work focuses mainly on suburban life in Mexico, the themes expressed in his photographs bear uncanny resemblances to issues also currently impacting Canadians.

    Brock Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend said it’s that universality that made Cartagena’s work so appealing and was why she invited him to this year’s Walker Cultural Leaders Series at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    “I’ve seen Cartagena’s work making an impact in how he is able to question political issues, mostly focused in Mexico, but I think there is a really universal message in what he is presenting,” she said. “It’s also important for students and the public to interact on a personal basis with a successful, working artist. To see that these are real people making real work in the real world — and it’s creating a dialogue.”

    Cartagena is presenting an exhibition, Presidential Guide to Selfies, and giving a public lecture titled Visualizing Space and Some Ideas of Homeownership 2006 to 2018. The exhibition opening reception and the lecture both take place on Wednesday, Oct. 17 and are free and open to the public.

    Hosted in the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space at MIWSFPA, Presidential Guide to Selfies asks people to question the motives behind Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s vast collection of publicly shared selfies.

    Cartagena has curated a selection of these selfies (currently posted to the President’s Official website) as a means to examine whether these images are being shared to show the Mexican President’s engagement with the people of his country, or whether it’s merely an exercise in vanity as he poses with his fans.

    Cartagena has also created an accompanying photobook for this exhibition in which he details the events surrounding each selfie. Friend noted that in an age of cell phones and social media, and with Canada’s own Justin Trudeau often affectionately and critically called ‘Prime Minister Selfie,’ the exhibition’s exploration of politics, social media connectivity and celebrity culture is exceptionally timely.

    Following the gallery opening, Cartagena will explore the interdependence of humans and landscape in the face of urban expansion in a lecture drawing from his own body of work.

    Carpoolers, for example, is comprised of a series of photographs taken of migrant workers travelling around Mexico in the beds of pickup trucks.

    The images of hardworking labourers travelling from job to job during the harvest season can conjure connections to Niagara’s own large migrant worker population. In Ontario alone, tens of thousands of migrant workers come to farms, orchards and greenhouses each year as part of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

    “The idea of ownership floats around in Cartagena’s work, looking at suburban Mexican homes, border issues, migrant issues, issues of poverty and wealth,” said Friend. “It’s quite poignant now, in particular with what is happening with migration issues worldwide, and it also makes us question how we treat our own migrant workers. How do we decide how housing is built? Do we even know what is happening here in Canada?”

    The lecture is being held in the Robertson Theatre at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Tickets to the lecture are free, but registration is required by visiting the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre website. The exhibition runs until Nov. 7.

    Presidential Guide to Selfies
    Exhibition opening: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 5 p.m., VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, MIWSFPA
    Exhibition runs: Oct. 4 to Nov. 7

    Visualizing space and some ideas of homeownership 2006-2018
    Wednesday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m., Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases