"Antigone" director Chris Burton is introducing a wrinkle to GSC's production of Anouilh's rendition of the Sophoclean tragedy, which puts the story in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Burton's cast will use makeup and color-themed costuming to convey the notion of them as statues coming to life to help tell the story of young Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, who perseveres to see that her brother Polynices gets a dignified burial in defiance of an order to the contrary by her uncle Creon, the new ruler.
The ancient Greek version penned by Sophocles made Creon -- and his loss of not only niece Antigone, but also son Haemon (Antigone's fiance) and wife Eurydice -- as the focus of the storyline. Indeed, in Sophocles' original, Antigone isn't even around for the last third of the play, when Creon grapples with the price of his decision.
Anouilh's version turns the attention on Antigone's quest, and her disregard of death as the ultimate price for her decision. Paramount in the Anouilh adaptation is an extended scene in which Creon tries repeatedly to reason with his niece, offering her options to avoid an appointment with execution.
I visited GSC rehearsals for "Antigone" on three occasions since rehearsals began. Performers were still using scripts during walk-throughs on on the first visit, Jan. 30. I was there again on Feb 13, when cast members had their first chance to see and try on wardrobe, and made my third trip March 5, when production crew had cast members sample portions of the planned makeup. The image leading off the post, which shows cast member Megan Dale Slocum applying the final layer of gray paint on the base on the face of fellow cast member John Garlick, is from that shoot.
The makeup session was availed so performers could experience what the extended facial makeup would feel like (and to make adjustments for anyone who was not comfortable with it). It also was used to learn if any performer had unknown allergies to the spirit gum (an adhesive), tissue paper, oats and washable gray paint planned for the facial work.
Makeup would be applied to performers in various degrees -- younger characters would get less, older ones would get more.
The plays opens 7 p.m. Friday at the Garfield Park Arts Center, 2432 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis, in Garfield Park. It repeats at the same time Saturday and on March 21 and 22. It closes with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 23.
Admission to all shows is free, but attendees are asked to call the arts center in advance during normal business hours to ensure and reserve seating, as space is limited. The center's number is (317) 327-7135. Its hours of operation are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
"Antigone" will mark the eighth consecutive GSC show that I will have photographed for the all-volunteer theater troupe. I started with the fall 2010 production of "Macbeth," then handled the full seasons in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
These photos are from the Jan. 30, Feb. 13 and March 5 shoots. I'm expecting to shoot the full dress rehearsal on Thursday.
The production crew mapped out sketches of makeup for each of the cast members. These sketches are for Caleb "Kabs" Slocum and Megan Dale Slocum, who play Creon and Antigone's nurse, respectively.
Above and next three below: The makeup used for the "statues" look on faces of cast members. Above, the bottles of spirit gum. First below, a bag of oats. Second below, the swatches of tissue paper on which paint would be applied.
Above and below: As one the youngest characters in the play, Antigone (played by Kerry Layne Stauffer) will have minimum makeup.
Above and next two below: The three guards in the play will be played by Jay Brubaker (above), John Garlick and Guy Grubbs. Assistant director and makeup designer Sam Brandys applies the makeup to Grubbs' face.
Above and below: Narrator Robert Routier will be among cast with the heaviest makeup. Although he only got a half-face application for the "test" session March 5, for performances his full face will resemble that which you see below.
Andy Sturms (above, assisted by Megan Dale Slocum) and Monica Verdouw below go through their test session. Sturms plays a bicycle messenger; Verdouw plays Eurydice, Creon's wife.
Above: Stage manager Kaitlyn Yearwood helps Kabs Slocum, who plays the ruler Creon, with his wardrobe at the Feb. 13 session.
Above and below: After fitting their costumers at the Feb. 13 session, performers went through the opening introductory scene in which narrator Robert Routier (above) introduces the audience to each of the characters and provides key back stories to the plot. In another moment of that scene (below), Creon's son Haemon, who also is Antigone's fiance, played by Spencer Elliott, goes through a short dance routine with Antigone's sister Ismene, played by Elliott's real-life wife, Ashley Chase Elloitt.
Above: Stauffer (Antigone) and Elliott (Haeman) in an early scene.
Above: Bicycle messenger Andy Sturm glances to the side while guard John Garlick (foreground) plays cards with the other guards.
Above: Guards Grubbs (left) and Garlick watch as Elliott (Haemon) and Sturm (messenger) wrestle.
Above and below: Footwear for the play was part of the costume fit Feb. 13. Ashley Chase Elliott gives her kicks a break in (above), while Spencer Elliott and Andy Sturm tends to theirs.
Above: Cast member Kabs Slocum (far left) with some of the production crew cognoscenti: (seated, from left) costume designer Matt Yeagle, assistant director and makeup designer Sam Brandys and stage manager Kaitlyn Yearwood.
Above: Director Chris Burton with Brandys and Yearwood at the Jan. 30 shoot.
Above: The three guards (left to right) Guy Grubbs, John Garlick and Jay Brubaker, playing cards during the opening introductory scene.
Above: Stauffer, in a moment when Antigone is reflective.
Above: Stauffer (as Antigone) in the foreground listens to her nurse, played by Megan Dale Slocum.
Above: Burton and Yearwood.
Above and next two below: Stauffer in separate moments of the Jan. 30 rehearsal. Alone (above), while standing under a track light in the arts center's main gallery hall, first below with Spencer Elliott, as Haemon, Antigone's fiance, and second below with Ashley Chase Elliott, as Ismene, Antigone's sister.
Above and below: Guard John Garlick above in a scene when he informs Creon (below, played by Kabs Slocum) that someone had attempted to bury Polynice.