Hip Shots: Bitch, a Play About Antigone
Redrum – Fort Fringe
Friday, July 18 at 11:45 p.m.
Wednesday, July 23 at 6:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 26 at 8:15 p.m.
They Say: Truth, justice and the Theban code of honor! Everyone comes to Thebes to make a name for themselves. Ambition is the name of the game and Antigone and Creon are ready to play. Are you?
Marshall's Take: Naked Theatre Company and emerging playwright Andy Boyd’s Bitch, a Play About Antigone are a great match. The technology-driven intrigue and political maneuvering of Boyd's script have found a good home, where rehearsals are sometimes filmed for public consumption and the play starts with a revealing making-of video.
The video was a bold choice to kick off the show. It spoiled a couple laughs and a central plot point, but some lines were the funnier for getting us in on the joke. The video focused on the evolution of one line delivered by Rachael Jacobs (Izzy). When told by director Julia Sears to go bigger and bigger, she met the challenge, but, when that line is delivered early on in the show, it is subdued and much more effective for it. That evolution is evidence of a fruitful rehearsal process for both of them. Still, one can’t help but wonder how much was left on the cutting room floor. If the content is so carefully curated, is this self-proclaimed transparency just an act? That suspicious mood is the perfect state in which to experience Bitch, a Play About Antigone.
The show mixes modern political fears with Greek power structures and history. Jacobs and Dan Reno (He-Man) keep the stakes high enough to ensure that the exposition doesn’t drag. Tamieka Chavis (Teiresias) brings the funny in her quick news media parodies. Her deft physicality and inventive wardrobe changes make her next target of satire immediately clear. Matthew Dundas’s Jones seems like he wandered in from another show, but Dundas hits every note with such sincerity that it’s hard not to like the farcical thug. Though rough around the edges for its opening night, the production makes slick use of a minimal set, a few props and the Redrum’s lights to make a small space span Thebes.
Ultimately, the show beats idealism bloody. Everyone is hiding something, even while they air their opponent’s dirty laundry in the name of transparency. I was surprised to leave the show empathizing most with Philip Bufithis’s Creon, whose flippant swagger and vicious humor speak of a man who has seen this story enough times to know there’s no true transparency in the world of politics.
See it if: You’re looking for a modern thriller that hits home.
Skip it if: An Ancient Greek princess gone superhacker is too much of a leap for you.