Sophocles’ Antigone, one of the most complete texts of ancient Greek drama, is presented by the Jerusalem Khan Theatre under the direction of Udi Ben Moshe, one of the most significant directors of Israel.
The conflict between Oedipus’ two sons, Polynices and Eteocles over the throne of Thebes, has ended. The two brothers are lying dead on the battlefield. Creon decrees Polynices body to remain unburied and unmourned because he betrayed his homeland by bringing a foreign army against it. Antigone decides to honour her brother with the proper burial, defying the disastrous consequences, in a conflict between natural and human law.
Timeless criticism on the arrogance of power and autocracy and the conflict between unwritten moral laws and institutional state laws, emerge through a contemporary stage “reading” emphasizing resistance against the modern political context as well as the current conflicts between religion and state.
WITH GREEK AND ENGLISH SURTITLES
Udi Ben Moshe
Israel, my homeland and the place where I create, is a modern democracy that experiences a basic conflict between religion and state, a conflict which has been embedded in the roots of the Jewish nation and culture ever since the times of the Bible, between the kings of Israel and its profits.
This conflict is rooted in the definition of our nation here, which uses a single term to define both the nation and the religion: Jewish. This is a tragic, possibly insoluble conflict, threatening the basis of the self-definition of this people today and in the future.
The Khan Theatre is based in Jerusalem, where we have been creating theatre for 50 years, and where this conflict is manifested in the most extreme terms and expressed in political and existential aspects.
This is why I chose to place the events in modern-day Israel. Opposed to the extreme right-winged nationalist ruler is a strong-minded adolescent girl, who adamantly sticks to the rules of God. The Greek Chorus in our version, has been transformed into a group of councillors and military men opposite whom stand fast – in a contemporary-political context – a group of young extreme settlers. With current dresses and the translation of Shimon Buzaglo, who uses a contemporary fluent language while meticulously maintaining the poetic aspect of the text, our production sheds light on current conflicts between religion and state in today’s state of Israel.
In the universal sense, the futuristic world view portrayed on stage, describes a chilling existential threat, which is currently at our doorstep, according to which the inability to compromise leads to death. When extremists cannot see the bigger picture, it might all end in a tragedy.
Udi Ben Moshe
The Jerusalem Khan Theatre is considered by arts critics to be the Israeli theatre that has generated the most ground-breaking work of the last few years, presenting productions that have garnered significant audience praise.
Regarded as a unique gem of the Jerusalem cultural landscape, the Khan has merited considerable recognition and appreciation, has won a number of prestigious prizes and has been invited to perform in festivals and events around the world.
The Khan is the main creative repertory theatre in Jerusalem. The theatre maintains a permanent company of actors and is committed to produce at least four new critically acclaimed plays each season, in addition to its repertoire of about ten ongoing productions. These include original Israeli plays, some written specifically for the ensemble, as well as classical and modern European and American plays.
Dedicated to the belief that everyone has the right to enjoy high-level theatre, the Khan places a special emphasis on community outreach. The Khan enriches the cultural scene of Jerusalem by ensuring that its events are accessible to all of the citizens.
The Khan’s ground-breaking productions engage audiences from across the spectrum of the Jerusalem community, strengthening the city’s vibrancy and enriching its cultural landscape. The Khan acts as a beacon in the Jerusalem landscape, offering a place where different sectors of the city can meet and experience culture without discord.
CEO of the Khan Theatre, Elisheva Mazya, and Artistic Director of the theatre, Udi Ben Moshe, together guide the Khan Theatre towards fulfilling its artistic-cultural vision.