As we rehearsed and performed a classic in the old miners bathhouse in the space of 7 days, it has once again been an amazing week, a ritual week, breaking the bonds of the ordinary and entering a new land.
I will retain the image of people purposefully wandering down the road from the village to enter the ritual space. In a world without presence, where presence is frowned upon as a danger, where the screen is, instead, ‘safe’, this was a great relief, to suckle at the breast of theatre; and the play was written two and a half thousand years ago.
Antigone was the play that enticed me into theatre when I saw a girls’ high school production as a sixteen year old. Here was intense political debate, commitment, emotion and tragedy, taking place on the stage of a school hall in the middle of 1950s Palmerston North’s inarticulate puritanism, where people talked mainly of the weather and complained about potholes in the footpath, the cowboy film at the Regent on a Saturday night the space of ‘dreaming’.
It was in an instant conversion. Performance could change the world.