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Actors collaborate on 'Antigone' translation and performance

Posted on March 31, 2009

When Grand Valley State University Professor of Classics Diane Rayor was asked to work on a new translation of "Antigone," for Cambridge University Press, it was to be specifically written for performance. But what looks good on the page doesn't always work on stage.

The translation follows the familiar story of Oedipus’ daughter Antigone, who must chose between obeying the laws of the gods and the laws of the state in this classic tragedy by Sophocles. By team-teaching a Classical Theatre Workshop with Karen Libman, associate professor of theatre in the School of Communications, Rayor’s translation has undergone a full semester of rehearsing and refining, including many suggestions by the student performers.

The new translation is now ready for its world premiere performances April 16 and 17, at 6 p.m., and April 18, at 2 p.m. All three shows are to be performed out-of-doors, in the amphitheater outside the Niemeyer Learning and Living Center, on the Allendale Campus. In case of rain, the performances will be in the Niemeyer Learning and Living Center Great Room.

Tickets are $6 for all seats, and can be purchased in advance at the GVSU Box Office, located in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus. For ticket information call (616) 331-2300.

“‘Antigone’” is one of the most-taught plays in high school and college curricula,” said Rayor, who has been recognized internationally for her literary translations and her four previous books, including Sappho’s Lyre and The Homeric Hymns. She notes that Libman and each participating student will be credited for their input in the upcoming publication of “Antigone.”

Contact Rayor in the Department of Classics at (616) 331-3600, or Libman in the School of Communications, at (616) 331-3668.

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