THEATER REVIEW: 'Antigone' at Las Vegas Academy

A high school putting on “Antigone” may scare off a lot of people, but Sophocles’ easy-to-follow play deals with an issue that concerns most of us. Where should our major allegiance be? To family or to the State? First impulse would be to family, I suppose, but when it comes to issues of major crimes, loyalties aren’t so easy.
The Las Vegas Academy is giving the Richard Welsbacher adaptation a clean vision. The sons of Oedipus are killed. One is apparently a hero, and the by-the-book King Creon (Kip Canyon) is bent on giving him a grand funeral. The second son apparently died a traitor, and the king refuses to honor the body. Sis Antigone (Chloe Slater), though, believes it is her duty to bury her disgraced brother at all costs. The clash of wills brings big-time trouble, as chronicled by a more than two-dozen member chorus dressed in all-white, and the warring drums of Kevin Herrera and Edgar Nunez, placed high above the action.
Directors Terry McGonigle and Dane Madsen bring clarity in speech and action that makes the script accessible. The actors have done an excellent job of separating thoughts and modulating speeches so that they really sound involved in the action. Canyon’s an authoritative king. He moves with the confidence of a man unaccustomed to being questioned. Slater comes across as a caring, delicate, yet determined young woman. Randy Sly, as Antigone’s fiancé, has a poignant scene in which he begs his father to change his mind.
McGonigle, as production designer, brings surprising flashes of color and majesty to the small-scaled production.
My one major reservation has to do with the playing of Creon as a total villain. It seems to me Sophocles’ point is that there are flaws in both the king and Antigone’s tunnel vision. There’s no way the script’s conflict can end except in further destruction, unless both sides figure out a way to meet in the middle. In this production, you feel the only solution is for Creon to be overthrown. There’s a lot more to the play than that. Antigone is not quite the flawless heroine the directors (and adapter) would have us believe.
What: “Antigone”
When: 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Where: Las Vegas Academy Black Box Theatre, 10th Street and Lewis Avenue
Tickets: $10 (800-585-3737)
Grade: B