USC News

Menu Search

Nikias, Visions and Voices event introduce students to reimagined Antigone

USC president joins cast and director in discussion of the play’s timeless themes.

C. L. Max Nikias
USC President C. L. Max Nikias discusses the play Antigone with the cast. (USC Photo/Michael Baker)

As part of a special Nov. 19 Visions and Voices event, 160 students traveled to a performance of the classic play Antigone by A Noise Within, a Pasadena-based theater company.

Joy Ofodu and C. L. Max Nikias

Student Joy Ofodu greets USC President C. L. Max Nikias before watching Antigone. (USC Photo/Michael Baker)

The students saw more than a play, though: Afterward, USC President C. L. Max Nikias joined the cast and director Robertson Dean to discuss some of the play’s timeless themes and take questions from students.

The group watched Jean Anouilh’s 1944 interpretation of Sophocles’ classic tragedy, a variation that makes use of a narrative device that dares audience members to choose between their personal values and those of the world in which they find themselves.

Different times

Nikias and Dean explored the different times in which Sophocles’ original and Anouilh’s interpretation were staged.

The original Antigone pushed the envelope when it was staged in 442 BC by putting a female heroine in the lead during the height of the male-dominated Athenian democracy.

Robertson Dean and C. L. Max Nikias

Director Robertson Dean talks with USC President Dr. C. L. Max Nikias before the play. (USC Photo/Michael Baker)

Jean Anouilh’s Antigone was set against the Nazi occupation of democratic France. Even while the character who represents the state, Creon, loses his family at the end of the play, he holds onto power for the perceived best interests of the state. That resonated with the Nazi regime, which allowed the play to be staged despite its subservient undertones.

Spring course

Nikias’ discussion with audience members foreshadowed the discourse that freshmen and sophomore students enrolled in the CORE 200 course “The Culture of the Athenian Democracy” can expect in the spring. The course will be co-taught by Nikias and Professor Thomas Habinek and will examine the period during which the ancient Athenians created democracy, theater, architecture and fine art, and devised trial by jury.

Nikias will lead analyses of three of Sophocles’ masterpieces — Antigone, Oedipus the King and Philoctetes. Habinek will cover the Peloponnesian War.

More stories about: ,

Nikias, Visions and Voices event introduce students to reimagined Antigone

Top stories on USC News