Antigone Review

MSJC Brings Sophocles’ Classic Tragedy To Life With A Noir Spin

Joseph Palos, Writer/Photographer

The theater department at MSJC’s Menifee campus has brought Sophocles’ classic tragedy Antigone to life. The play tells the story of a woman (named Antigone) that goes against her uncle’s orders as she attempts to bury the body of her dead brother. Director Peyton managed to adapt the play for a modern audience while keeping true to the original. The most blatant change is the setting, which has been reenvisioned as a film noir while still taking place in the city of Thebes. 

When asked where the idea to adapt Sophocles’ Antigone into a film noir came from, Director Peyton remarked that while watching the actors perform, “occasionally it would remind me of scenes that I have seen in my favorite film noirs.” He also felt that using the style and aesthetic of the film noir genre would allow the audience to better understand the language of the play. The production features eight very talented actors that take full advantage of the material, playing into the noir influence and pulling from the play’s traditional Greek roots. 

Madison Snider plays the headstrong main protagonist, Antigone. Madison has been acting for roughly six years and attended the Idyllwild Arts Academy where she studied as a theater major. When asked about the choice to lean into a neo-noir aesthetic, she expressed excitement about the decision while also reinforcing the importance of the original material. “Greek tragedies are not the easiest to understand, so we all agreed as a cast that we would change up a line if it really felt like it needed to be…but we [also] respect what was written [at the time] and that beautiful language,” says Snider. Madison gives a strong performance, embodying Antigone’s confidence, conviction, and determination. 

Stone Ramirez, who plays Creon, noted the positive atmosphere on set while practicing for the play, “it’s so fun!” He also described that despite this being his first foray into the world of acting it has been surprisingly easy to learn, and that the positivity and great direction from Peyton and the rest of the crew have made it very enjoyable. Stone, who is majoring in music, also contributed an original soundtrack for the play; the moody acoustic guitar and occasional swelling of stringed instruments can be heard throughout the show’s runtime and plays a large part in setting the tone of Peyton’s vision. 

Regarding the director, the cast had nothing but wonderful things to say about him. Each member I spoke with praised his methods and shared their interest in working with him again. Krista McClean, the actress responsible for portraying Antigone’s sister, Ismene, said that since she began acting at the age of six, she has worked on over thirty shows and has “never had a director dive this deep into character work.” Krista’s portrayal of Ismene is a remarkable lesson in subtlety, which plays extremely well against the fiercer personality of Madison’s Antigone. 

Jacob Nguyen plays the role of Alexandros; his character wears a trench coat and dons a hat similar to that of a cordobes. Throughout the play he is often seen near Stone’s Creon, fixing his leather gloves and acting as a bodyguard or henchman-type figure. Nguyen describes the character as an “audience surrogate,” and though he remains silent for the majority of the show, do not let his silence fool you, as Nguyen delivers one of the best performances in the play. He puts so much character into his monologue near the end that I was actually shocked when I suddenly remembered I was watching a performance. 

Peyton’s version of Antigone has a lot to offer, from the stunning set and dramatic visuals to the heartfelt performances of the wonderful cast and moody score. Intense performances and fascinating characters such as the all-knowing prophet, Teiresias, played by the brilliant Larry Sichter, make this show a must-see for fans of the noir genre or of the original Antigone. The show will be running at MSJC’s Menifee Valley Campus from April 20th to April 23rd and will be opening at 7 pm for the first three nights and then at 2 pm for the final showing on Sunday. As of right now, the first day has already sold out, which means that anyone wanting to see the show should book their tickets as soon as possible.

Watch the trailer here.

For more info on tickets: – $5 General Admission

Location:  Menifee campus lab theater room 207