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Antigone at NSD’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2016

Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before 441 BC
Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before 441 BC

What a swift transition from page to stage it was! Even before the theatre commenced the actors were amidst the audience busy playing their roles with much elan. Sophocles of Kolones, one of the most famous and celebrated writer of tragedy plays in ancient Greece is credited with the authorship of the play ‘Antigone’. ‘Antigone’, a production from Swapna Sandhani was all about a perfect synergy between the actors acting and direction.

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Famous Bengali theatre artist Reshmi Sen played the character of Antigone

Upon her arrival at Thebes in Egypt, Antigone learns that both her brothers are dead. Eteocles has been given a proper burial, but Creon, Antigone’s uncle who has inherited the throne, has issued a royal edict banning the burial of Polynices, who he believes was a traitor. Antigone defies the law, buries her brother, and gets caught. When Creon locks her away in prison, she kills herself. Translated by Sisir Kumar Das the play brings fine nitty-gritty of human emotions.

Actor and Director Koushik Sen
Actor and Director Koushik Sen

Koushik Sen, the director of the play, is one of the most important actor-director of Bengali stage, apart from being a popular television and film actor. He shares, “While working with Antigone I have wondered a million times why a thousand-year-old play still holds relevance. Is it because of its literary excellence or is it because of the writer’s wisdom to foresee the times to come? The wisdom which saw that hatred will never cease to exist even when decades and centuries go by and man’s hunger for power will bring darkness even before sunset which will be darker than any night.”

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The performance of Antigone in a wintry evening at the occasion of National School of Drama’s¬†international theatre festival Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2016 was all about finesse. Reshmi Sen in the character of Antigone portrayed the vulnerability of a sister on one hand and the rage, aggression of a woman on the other hand. K. Sen with his usual prowess was at his best. For any Bengali theatre lover, it is not unknown that Monalisa Pal is brilliant in her acting skills. And thus, her brief stint as Ismene remains with every spectator. Indeed, acting runs in her genes. Very young Riddhi Sen proves it time and again. This time, as a boy she has proved her versatility.

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Theatre is primarily about acting but truer music, set, light, make-up and costume establish the perfect backdrop in any play. The apt interplay of light and darkness created a mood. The notion of constant surveillance by the torch-light was beyond the theatre techniques. So, for any theatre lover Antigone was much beyond the strong ties of relationship, state vs individual, high voltage feminism. It was all about a true experience.

Cast and Credits

Antigone Reshmi Sen
Creon Koushik Sen
Ismene Monalisa Pal
Haemon Subhro Sourav Das
Teirisius Nabanita Basu Mazumder
Young Boy (eyes of Teirisius) Riddhi Sen
Sentry (Prohori) Supratim Sinha
Eurydice Mousumi Chakraborty
Four Intellectuals Ashok Ghosh, Rabindra Nath Jana, Shankar Ghosh, Sanjoy Dey
Citizens of Thebes Bappaditya Mondal, Dip Sankha Ghosh, Tamale Bhattacharya, Debanjali Das, Rai De, Sreerupa Saha, Jeni Saha, Anusil Debnath, Indrashish Ghosh, Bhaskar Poddar, Subhashish Deb

Music Goutam Ghosh
Set Soumik Piyali
Light Dipankar De
Makeup Md. Ali, Shekhar Adhikary
Costume Reshmi Sen

Playwright Sophocles
Translation Shishir Kumar Das
Direction Koushik Sen


Text by Rai Chakraborty
Images by Prerona Basu