Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to see No Exit’s wonderfully unconventional Antigone on the grounds of the IMA. And as powerful as the Sophocles play was, I couldn’t help but feel as if I had walked into a movie an hour late. Having not seen the prequels Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus, performed earlier this month, I had to pick up elements of the backstory not remembered from college on the fly. Lucky for you, No Exit will stage all three plays on May 31, June 1, and June 2.
As the dessert course of the Theban Trilogy, Antigone does not disappoint. With Oedipus out of the picture, his daughter struggles to dissociate herself from her father’s fate. The troupe first performed the play on the IMA grounds in 2009, and as the gabby chorus guides you from setting to setting around the spectacular Lilly House, you might wonder why more theater hasn’t found this place. Dressed in contemporary clothing, the cast manages to transport you to ancient Greece with mostly dramatic performances, especially that of King Creon (Michael Hosp). The dead wear masks and stagger like drunks throughout the piece, and you can find yourself surprised by one in the distance or right behind you. At the risk of spoiling the plot, a lot of people end up in masks (This is Greek tragedy, after all.)
No Exit first made a name for itself at the Fringe Festival, and they take plenty of artistic liberties here. But you’d have to be as blind as Oedipus not to see that the city needs more experimental theater like this. For more details, visit noexitperformance.org.