Blood Line: The Oedipus/Antigone Story
Two plays by Sophocles
Premiere Translations by Nicholas Rudall
Directed by Joanna Settle
The Viaduct, Chicago
About the Text:
Fed by her continuing interest in classic texts, Artistic Director Joanna Settle began to consider presenting Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Antigone (both written in 5th Century BC) in a single two-act production. She approached scholar/translator Nicholas Rudall with a list of detailed questions about the scripts as written in the original ancient Greek.
They discussed Antigone’s choice to forego a future of marriage and family to be a good citizen, and how this decision could be best understood in the context of her childhood and parentage. Settle also expressed her interest in presenting these texts in a non-traditional location, one that could suggest a variety of public spaces, a location that the production could define as Thebes.
Settle and Rudall soon recognized that their conversations were the beginning of a dynamic collaboration. Rudall offered to translate the texts himself, and they were ultimately performed (with edits) in just under three hours as BLOOD LINE: The Oedipus/Antigone Story.
About the Production:
Rudall’s texts revealed a citizenry (chorus) defined by its rulers: treated as individuals by Oedipus in Act I, and as a political-machine under Creon in Act II. The production examined the rule of law as it passed from one ruler to another, and this transition became the conceptual center of the production.
BLOOD LINE rehearsed for 10 weeks, with a two-week period dsedicated to choral development. With Antigone’s story so closely following that of her father, several characters from Act I returned to haunt her in Act II: her father, her mother Jocasta, and even her younger self.
Division 13 Productions chose the present BLOOD LINE at The Viaduct, a 6,000 square foot converted warehouse located under a causeway on Chicago’s west side. Recently acquired by new owners working to create a multi-space performance venue, BLOOD LINE inaugurated The Viaduct’s largest space. This huge, open warehouse with vaulted silver ceilings was reminiscent of a small airplane hangar and features two enormous wooden doors that swing open into a back alley. (It was through these doors that Antigone walked to her death — past barrels of fire and a stone-throwing mob — and disappeared into the Chicago night.
The performance area was defined by carpeting and four large doorframe/stepladder units. Set designer Michael Downs created a custom floor pattern for the main square of Thebes, and surrounded it with over 20 tons of gravel. Upon arriving at the space, audience members crunched to their seats, which lined three sides of the playing space.
The sound design for the production was the most ambitious Division 13 Productions had attempted. Mark Messing of Maestro Matic (a post-production sound company for film) led a team of five designers and composers to generate a body of ambient sounds, textures, and specific cues. Sound system designer Seth Green devised a 23-speaker system, placing speakers above and below the audience, in the corners of the space, and on the walls, making it possible for sound to chase through the room.
BLOOD LINE marked a new level of exposure and recognition for Division 13 Productions. Settle and members of the cast were invited to speak at the 1999 Sophocles Convention hosted by the University of Chicago Classics Department, which also sent a large group of attendees to see BLOOD LINE. Critical acclaim and sold-out performances were followed by two After Dark Awards for “Outstanding Production” and “Best New Translation.”
Set Design: Michael E. Downs
Costume Design: Jana Stauffer
Lighting Design: David Neville
Original Music and Sound Design: Maestro Matic
Stage Manager: Alex Blunt
Production Manager: Ruth Helms
Technical Director: Hadwin Kingsley
Publicity Director: Karin McKie
Graphic Design: Lisa Cargill
Dramaturg: Emily Stone
Assistant Dramaturg: Sabrina Lloyd
First Assistant Director: Kelly Cooper
Second Assistant Director/Assistant Dramaturg: Janel Winter
Assistant Stage Manager: Justin Bremen
Assistant Stage Manager: Jennifer Henderson
Assistant Set Designer: Susan Kaip
Assistant Costume Designer: Michelle Lynette Bush
Assistant Lighting Designer: Cameron Zetty
Light Board Operator: Marc Pietro
Sound Board Operator: Mark Canfield
Master Electricians: Patrick Hudson and Dan Merriman
Vocal Coach: Tanera Marshall
House Management: Tom Heine, Greg Berlowitz, Andrea Swanson
Technical Crew: Stephanie Arnold, Greg Berlowitz, Edward Cook, Mike Frank, Patrick Hudson, David Schwartz, Tiffany Scott, David Sohl, Patrick Washington, David Van Wort
Eve Alexander (Young Ismene)
Gabrielle Brite (Eurydice, Chorus)
Antionette Broderick (Chorus)
Chris Conry (Chorus)
Anne DeAcetis (Antigone)
Maggie Doyle (Jocasta)
Harry Eddleman (Chorus)
Patricia Finn-Morris (Chorus)
Miranda Gonzalez (Chorus)
Stacey Griffin (Haimon)
Deborah King (Ismene)
Eamonn McDonagh (Messenger)
Mark Reisman (Herdsman/Watchman)
Megan Rodgers (Chorus)
Alex Douglas (Boy)
Benjamin Sprunger (Chorus)
James Stanley (Oedipus)
Katie Taber (Teiresias)
Ema Tuennerman (Young Antigone)
Mark Ulrich (Creon)
Jan Wiesorek (Chorus)
Jody Wilson (Chorus)