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Unity Over Unison: Creating AntigoneNOW in Lockdown. A Conversation between Margaret Laurena Kemp, Sinéad Rushe, and Roger Ellis; moderated by Dassia N. Posner

Rushe, Sinéad, Kemp, Margaret Laurena, Ellis, Roger and Posner, Dassia N. (2021) Unity Over Unison: Creating AntigoneNOW in Lockdown. A Conversation between Margaret Laurena Kemp, Sinéad Rushe, and Roger Ellis; moderated by Dassia N. Posner. Theatre Topics. ISSN 1054-8378 (In Press)

Abstract

This is a conversation between Margaret Laurena Kemp, Sinéad Rushe, and Roger Ellis; moderated by Dassia N. Posner about the performance film AntigoneNOW.

AntigoneNOW was created in lockdown in April 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic closed the theatres, the work’s co-directors Margaret Laurena Kemp and Sinéad Rushe radically reimagined their originally planned stage production at University California Davis as a twenty-minute performance film that was rehearsed, directed, and created online. Devised from Sophocles’ play, Antigone, in a translation by Seamus Heaney, a cast of twelve women – each in isolation, each playing Antigone – filmed themselves on their mobile phones, iPads, and video cameras, together forming a chorus that portrays Antigone’s defiance of the law forbidding her to bury the body of her dead brother.

Choreographer Roger Ellis created ensemble movement, and sound designer Lex Kosanke composed an original sound score. Kemp edited the film, in collaboration with Rushe.

In 2020-21, AntigoneNOW screened at UC Davis, Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre, Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, London School of Sound, Michael Chekhov Association USA, Valparaiso University, Louisiana State University, and SPE Media Festival.

The conversation is based on a talkback with the film’s creators that followed an online screening on November 13, 2020, hosted at Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

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