SMETENÍ ANTIGONY / SWEEPING UP ANTIGONE

Roman Sikora

Cast: 7 men, 5 women, 10 drunkards, 3 surgeons, 3 armed men, 1 hammer

Sikora turns the classical Greek myth on its head. Antigone’s revolt is not to bury her brother but to dig him up. The dead Polyneices is the last being with whom she had a deep relationship. The world around Antigone is a display of grotesque caricatures. Haemon’s seduction of the naïve Ismene lasts only until his parents find him a politically correct Fiancée. Creon is no more than a career-minded politician manipulating reality with the help of the media, and of information from Tiresias, chief of the secret services. For Sikora, Antigone is an anarchist, who tries to assert her own identity in the face of the emptiness of the surrounding world. She provokes Creon, from boredom wins Haemon over to Ismene, and berates the drunkards in the pub. She embodies the dark principle of night and an antagonistic approach to the world, blindly raging against everyone and everything. Her destructiveness goes nowhere; impotent rage, it ends in itself. In the end it is Ismene, capable of fully tasting the experiences and joys of life, the exact antithesis to Antigone, who extends a hand to her sister. The play is written in closed, sharply pointed scenes. However, Sikora includes ironic paraphrases of other Greek myths in the form of inserted monologues and mini-stories. The language of the play is varied; the farce-like dialogue is full of journalistic phrases and banal clichés of TV serials, Antigone’s monologues weighed down by dark, poetic images. However, the author’s requirement in the stage direction repeated in the course of the play: Fire engulfs the theatre… Panic. No one will ever see the rest of the play, shows that it is advisable to rebel against not only contemporary society, but also against theatrical stereotypes and conventions. The play won second prize in the Alfréd Radok Foundation’s competition for the best Czech play. It has been read at the Bonn Biennial and the Avignon Festival in France. 

After sweeping up the world there remained a desolate location of debilitated relationships where anything can be acted out. In this way the author disclosed the lyrical starting paint of his imagery founded on the Romantic antinomy “I and the World”. … It is the most radical lyricisation realised on stage by the young generation of Czech playwrights. (Milan Uhde: Smetení světa, Divadelní noviny, 27.5.2003)

  The play is available also in German, French and Hungarian translation.


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