By Bob & Karen Isaacs

BOB: After too many years, major theatrical productions have returned to New Haven’s Festival of Arts and Ideas.

KAREN: I remember some of the great theater that was part of the Festival in its early days.

BOB: Now at Long Wharf is a fascinating new translation of Sophocles tragedy Antigone. This time it is called Burial at Thebes and the Nobel-prize winning writer and poet Seamus Heaney has done the translation.

KAREN: For anyone who had to read a Greek tragedy in school, this is a great opportunity to see an outstanding production. And this is a very clear and understandable translation.

BOB: We don’t really know how they were originally performed, but this production directed by Lucy Pitman-Wallace, seems to capture what we think it was like.

KAREN: In case you don’t remember Antigone, it is the story of one of Oedipus’ daughters who knowingly violates the law by burying her brother who is viewed as a traitor. Antigone argues that she must follow the higher law, the law of the Gods, when it conflicts with man’s law.

BOB: The Nottingham Playhouse Theater company has produced this as a true ensemble piece. The ten member cast act both as the chorus and the individual roles – plus some of them even play musical instruments.

KAREN: They managed to produce the emotional catharis that is so important Greek tragedy. By the end you are deeply moved by the situation and the fates of the characters.

BOB: Of course, Heaney did feel there were parallel to our times. But with Antigone there has always been that. During World War II, several adaptations of the play were done set in that period.

KAREN: This is something you really should see – first because we don’t often get to see the classic Greek tragedies performed – and secondly because this is an outstanding theatrical production in its own right. It plays at Long Wharf through June 19.

(Ran on WNHU 88.7 FM and www.wnhu.net, June 16-19 2008).

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