Theater archives

Fire Throws Over-Teched at Regrettable Expense


There’s been a resurgence of interest in Antigone in the 21st century. Sophocles’ tragedy follows the title character’s confrontation with the ruler Creon over the burial of her traitorous brother. Recent adaptations by Seamus Heaney and others have emphasized how this ancient Greek drama speaks to human-rights crises in our time. Rachel Dickstein, who wrote and directed Fire Throws, a new multimedia version of Sophocles’ drama (mounted by her company Ripe Time), shares in this contemporary desire to explore the psychology of the heroine’s political rebellion.

But Fire Throws becomes supersaturated with ideas and elements that are not meaningfully executed. Early projections of words like “death” and “underground” hint at the tedious deconstruction to follow. Equally heavy of hand is Dickstein’s disastrous choice to use double Antigones: “Antigone who was” (Laura Butler) watches “Antigone who is” (Erica Berg) as the character wanders aimlessly through her memories. Adding to the glut of misguided impulses are a clumsy video clip of the oracle Teiresias (Juliana Francis Kelly) and rushed Balinese-style dances breaking up an otherwise declamatory staging. Like too many pieces I’ve seen at 3LD, Fire Throws is over-teched at regrettable expense: Everything’s conceptualized, but nothing gets thought out theatrically. Ultimately, the urgency and clarity of the tragedy’s narrative disappear in a miasma of half-formed ideas.

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