Lead roles shine in AWT’s Antigone

Kelsey Gilker, playing the role of Antigone, stares down Creon, played by Joseph Otoo in a photoshoot with the photojournalism class. PHOTO BY KATE LERMAN

By Jessica Wallace:  Arts & Entertainment Editor  Ω

There has been a great tragedy at TRU. A young woman named Antigone stood up to authority, fought for what she thought was right and was sentenced to death.

She knew the ramifications for her actions and she bravely accepted her fate.

Antigone, put on by TRU’s Actor’s Workshop Theater, brings about questions of family allegiance and monarchial authority.

Played by Kelsey Gilker, Antigone is determined to cover the dead body of her brother, so that he may find peace in the afterlife.

Her uncle King Creon, played by Joseph Otoo, has made it clear that he wants the body to be left decaying in front of the townspeople as a symbol to the thieves of his power.

When Antigone betrays the wishes of the king, Creon is left no choice but to have her put to death.

“I can say no to the things that I know are wrong,” Antigone says to Creon.  “I spit on your idea of life, I choose death!”

Creon pleads with Antigone to do as he said, so that they can avoid her fate. Antigone chooses not betray her brother’s dignity.

Now in its final week, the production was inspired by director Heidi Verwey’s sense of style and has Mad Men influences.

Set in the 50s, taffeta outfits, red lipstick and cigarettes paint the era. Although it was nerve-racking to see a couple of the actresses trip on stage in their stilettos, no lines were forgotten and no one fell on their face.
As the set was designed in layered stairs, you had to hand it to the girls—stilettos and staircases are a nasty combo.

Despite the sketchy footwear, three actors definitely earned honourable mention: Gilker, Otoo and Dan Ondang, who played Guard 1.

After seeing Gilker in the Tempest last semester and now with Antigone, I would go to a play that I knew she was in regardless of the story. As if her body had as many expressions as her face, Gilker brought Antigone’s dilemma to life and passion and pain were felt by the audience.

Otoo’s charisma was cool and natural, while Ondang’s energy added the needed comic relief.

The chemistry between Gilker and Otoo was solid. At the climax of the play, the pair argued passionately over Antigone’s fate. The scene seemed to go on forever and the two never let up.

It was fun watching each character play off of others’ reactions and the passion was clear as Gilker’s hair unwound due to the intensity of the dramatic scene.

This is the final production directed by a professor this year for the Actor’s Workshop Theatre. Coming up is the Directors’ Festival, where TRU students have the chance to show off their directorial skills.

Antigone’s last showings are Thursday March 17 to Saturday, March 19, at 8 p.m., with a matinee March 18 at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $12 and you can reserve them by calling 250-377-6100 or buy them at the door.

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