Reduxion Theatre conjures magic with sharply staged production of 'Antigone' 

Reduxion Theatre's inaugural season saw the company taking on classic plays with strong performances and bold artistic choices, all focused on bringing out the essence of the original texts. With its second-season opening of "Antigone," Reduxion proves the first season was no fluke.

The Greek tragedy by Sophocles tells the story of a young woman who defies a law forbidding the burial of her recently slain brother, Polyneices, branded a traitor by Creon, king of Thebes. A number of issues are brought to the forefront as various characters argue for and against Antigone's justification for breaking of the law and Creon's punishment of her for doing so.

University of Oklahoma Professor Susan Shaughnessy has successfully guided her cast and crew in creating a production that is completely accessible to modern audiences, while also invoking the beauty and mystery of ancient theater as sacred ceremony.

The entire cast is utterly committed and convincing in making their particular character's case. As Antigone, Aimee Crowther is beautiful and noble, resolute in her commitment to the memory of her brother and the laws of the gods, and willing to accept the consequences for her defiance. 

Hannah Broom brings the inner conflict of Antigone's sister, Ismene, to the surface as she is torn between devotion to family and obedience to the king. Will Gardner's Creon is a powerful presence who becomes more interesting as events unfold. 

As Creon's son, Haemon, Addison Miller makes a big impression as he attempts to sway the stubborn king to spare the life of Antigone. In his fiery condemnation of Creon, Nicholas Bartell as the prophet Teiresias, briefly overpowers Gardner. As the Chorus, Brytanie Holbrook, Monica Gonzalez, Laura Stephenson do a good job of effectively communicating a wide range of ideas throughout the play.

In a production full of strong turns, Madison Niederhauser delivers not one, but two incredible performances as the Messenger and as the Watchman that delivers a tale of woe to Queen Eurydice, played with quiet devastation by Jennifer Koch Wells. As the Watchman, Niederhauser takes the thankless task of describing a climactic scene that occurs offstage and turns it into a riveting monologue.

In this particular adaptation, a more timeless approach was taken to the setting, allowing designer Jennifer Cozens to use costumes that were evocative of different eras.

With "Antigone," Reduxion continues to get unexpected mileage out of the City Arts Center, this time by transforming it into a theater-in-the-round. The approach to the set design by Steven Gillmore is minimal, but elegant and evocative; his lighting design is stunning. Colorful and ethereal, it both complements and enhances the set and costumes. No matter where the actors are on the stage or to which section they are playing, they always look great.

Antigone stages at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Oct. 24  at Reduxion Theatre, City Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing.

"?Eric Webb

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