I would choose a thrust stage format for the final appearance of Antigone. This would bring the audience into the action and allow the chorus to be divided around the stage. An aisle running in the middle of the audience will suffice for her grand entrance and exit. I would dress Antigone in simple sand coloured dress wearing no shoes or sandals and her hair worn up, out of her face so the world can see that she is for real and not ashamed of her actions. The bare feet would symbolise Antigone going back to her roots while the simple cloth proves how she no longer needs or cares about material belongings.
At the beginning of this scene Antigone would enter from the back of the hall, up through the centre aisle to the stage. She would be at the centre of a group of soldiers with her hands tied together by ropes held by the soldiers. This entrance will give the impression of sincerity to the audience showing how important the crime she committed was in the eye of the law. The guards will march her up the aisle to the bottom of the steps.
During this journey Antigone will speak her first stanza, ‘You see me… If I was Antigone I would walk with my body upright and yet my head would be slightly bowed conveying to the audience how she still lives strong and yet is pained at heart how she is leaving the world behind. When the guards reach the steps they shall remain with their backs to the audience while Antigone will turn and face out to the audience. The characters shall carry on marching on the spot in silence to give the impression of movement through the streets. The guards’ faces do not need to be seen as they have no dialogue and represent only one group of people therefore no true identity.
The lighting upon them shall be dipped and a single spotlight will appear on Antigone. The chorus will be split into four groups of four, so not to clutter the stage but give the impression of crowds gathering. They would sit on tiered levels above Antigone to give the impression of her walking through a valley. They will speak altogether, loudly and clearly in an uplifting voice, ‘But glory and praise go with you.. ‘ An arm gesture will go with this dialogue. From wherever the crowd stands or sits their nearest arm to Antigone shall be raised. This action shall lift the eye as well as trying to lift Antigones’ spirits.
The tone from the chorus will be comforting and soothing, a contrast to the structure on stage of Antigone and the guards. The final line ‘As none other that ever died before you’ will be stressed upon to emphasize to the audience how she has been the only woman to take action against the law. As Antigone recalls the fate of the daughter of Tantalus the chorus will tilt their heads to one side and look up to the right as if remembering with her. Although this is a small movement done by the chorus, when done in unison it will be visible to the audience and effective.
I would emphasize the words ‘Beat’, ‘doomed’, wasted and died’ and finally ‘such is the sleep I shall go to’. This will add to the image of how hideous death will be and arouse pity from the audience. Group A from the chorus will speak the following stanza only to add variation to the speeches. It would be spoken slowly and carefully at Antigone to make sense of her response, ‘Mockery, mockery! ‘ The guards would still be marching on the spot, tugging roughly every so often on the ropes showing no pity towards her. Antigone would react by stumbling and resisting , but no mercy will be shown encouraging the arousing of pity for her.
As Antigone I would speak with anger at the chorus as I cried out ‘O lordly sons of my city!.. ‘ as if cursing them. ‘No friend to weep at my banishment.. ‘ would be spoken with a realisation of how lonely her life has been and how cold her death shall be, again arousing pity. The chorus group to Antigones’ left would say, ‘My child you have gone your way to the outermost limit.. ‘ as if being the word of the truth and reasoning. ‘This is the expiation you must make… ‘ will be spoken altogether to emphasize that how the curse of her family has affected her.
I would lift my arms to the sky as I spoke ‘My father…… ,’ as if speaking to him in heaven. My hands would lower slowly to my head and then my heart as acting each of the following words, ‘thought, soul’. As I say ‘My father’ for the second time my left hand would raise, then on ‘my parents’ my left hand would raise and both would come together and end on top my head where they would remain for the end of that stanza. The whole chorus would speak in unison for the following 3 lines while the marching comes to a stand still conveying to the audience that the Palace has been reached.
From here Creon enters from stage left where the guards will turn to face him and push Antigone to her knees in front of him, still hands tied behind her back. The chorus would arrange themselves from of the high tiers to ground level and arrange themselves in a arc around Antigone and Creon. The lighting will switch to a darkening glow upon him to convey his dark and evil nature. Hopefully this will encourage hatred of Creon from the audience. Creon would speak with force without any emotion in his tone apart from that of hatred of Antigone.
On the line ‘Away with her at once’ two guards will step forward and drag her to her feet slowly so not to distract the attention away from Creon too much. Creon would speak slowly as if enjoying this moment and taking this opportunity in seeing her in pain. I would turn out to the audience from where I was standing for the next stanza. Creon, the guards and chorus would freeze as the lighting would again alter to darkness except over Antigone. I would stand limply and deliver the lines ‘So to my grave…. ‘ as if talking to myself and the audience with realisation and slight unhappiness.
However from ‘Yet I believe my father will be there… ‘ there would be a change in tone and sense of comfort in my voice. The pace would be slow and dream-like until ‘O but I would not have done the forbidden thing… ‘ which would be spoken with determination and conviction. I would angrily question ‘What law of heaven have I transgressed? ‘ proving I had done no wrong in the eyes of God whereas ‘What god (pause) can save me now? ‘ would be spoken slowly, arms and head lifted to the sky, proving that there was no other fate but death and how no one can save her now.
The lights would slowly lift as the rest of the cast become unfrozen. The chorus would begin their line in unison,’ Still the same tempest heart.. ‘ as the guards slowly march Antigone down the steps off the theatre. Creon would be standing, arms folded, legs hip-width apart conveying solidarity as he says ‘Indeed there is no more to hope for. ‘ Antigones’ exit would be similar of that to her entrance yet she would be followed by a spotlight until the end of her lines where there would be a final blackout. Her head would be raised though conveying how she is no longer afraid emphasizing admiration.