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About the project

Tow Harlem Stage 609

Antigone in Ferguson

Dramatic Reading of Antigone, by Sophocles

Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

Music Composed By Phil Woodmore

Antigone in Ferguson is a groundbreaking project, developed by Theater of War Productions, which fuses dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of Sophocles’ Antigone with live choral music performed by a diverse choir, including activists, youth, teachers, police officers, and concerned citizens from St. Louis, Missouri and New York City, culminating in powerful, healing discussions about race and social justice. Antigone in Ferguson was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014, through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, MO, and premiered at Normandy High School, Michael Brown’s alma mater, in September of 2016.

Every night that we sing “I’m Covered” at the end of the play, it’s my way of covering my student Michael Brown.
De-Rance Blaylock, Harlem Stage, 2018
The crowd at Antigone in Ferguson on the basketball court at Howard Playground in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY Ted Alcorn

About the play

  • Antigone by Sophocles

    Sophocles’ Antigone is an ancient play about a teenage girl who wishes to bury her brother, Polyneices, who recently died in a brutal civil war. Creon, the new, untested king, has ruled that Polyneices’ body must remain above the earth, and that anyone who breaks this law will be put to death. Antigone openly and intentionally defies his edict, covering her brother’s body with dirt and publicly declaring her allegiance to a higher law, one that transcends that of the state—the law of love. Creon is then forced, by his own political rhetoric, and the by fragile social order that he has barely begun to establish since the civil war, to make an example of his niece, by sentencing her to death. In the process of following through with his own decree, Creon loses everything. At its core, Antigone is a play about what happens when personal conviction and state law clash, raising the question: When everyone is right (or feels justified), how do we avert the violence that will inevitably take place?

Antigone in Ferguson Highlights

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Antigone in Ferguson

Antigone in Ferguson Online Premiere Trailer

On Zoom / 2020

This special event was presented on August 9, 2020 as part of "The Virtual Experience" 6th Annual Michael Brown Memorial Weekend in honor of the life of Michael Brown Jr., and foreground the perspectives of families who have lost their loved ones to police brutality and community violence. We were honored to have Gwen Carr (Eric Garner’s mother), Valerie Bell (Sean Bell’s mother), Marion Gray-Hopkins (Gary Hopkins Jr’s mother), and Uncle Bobby X (Oscar Grant’s uncle) kick off the discussion with their gut responses to the performance, and Cori Bush introduce the event.

This event featured performances by Oscar Isaac, Tracie Thoms, Ato Blankson-Wood, Willie Woodmore, Marjolaine Goldsmith, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, De-Rance Blaylock, Duane Martin Foster, Marcelle Davies Lashley, John Leggette, and Gheremi Clay, and the Antigone in Ferguson Choir.

Antigone in Ferguson

"I'm Covered" Antigone in Ferguson Virtual Choir

2020

In this time of violence, outrage, division, and grief, Theater of War Productions is honored to share this virtual offering, performed by the Antigone in Ferguson Choir, directed by composer Phil Woodmore @phil_woodmore, and led by the amazing De-Rance Blaylock @deepopstar, graduate of Normandy High School and teacher of Michael Brown. The singers and musicians featured in this video include educators, students, activists, social workers, members of the faith community, and police officers from St. Louis and New York City who have made the commitment to sing together in order to start powerful, uncomfortable, transformative discussions about race and gender-based violence.

The song, “I’m Covered,” written by Phil Woodmore for the project Antigone in Ferguson, is a healing hymn that comes at the end of the play as a collective response to the violence, outrage, division, and grief that precedes it. "Every night that we sing 'I’m Covered' at the end of the play,” said Ms. Blaylock, “it’s my way of covering my student Michael Brown.” We hope that in watching this video, you feel covered, if not by a higher power, then by the humanity, spirit, and hope at the center of the song.

We offer “I’m Covered” for interpretation and discussion, with the hope that it will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

In solidarity,

Theater of War Productions

Special thanks to our partners the Brooklyn Public Library @bplpresentsand the Stavros Niarchos Foundation @snforg.

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Antigone in Ferguson

House Seats: Antigone in Ferguson

All Arts / 2019

Experience a powerful fusion of Sophocles’ classic tragedy, Antigone, with live music from a contemporary gospel choir and highly personal community discussion. This multifaceted production explores themes of tragedy, trauma and social justice, and shows us that a 2500-year-old play is still relevant today. The all-star ensemble of actors includes Samira Wiley, Chris Noth and Tamara Tunie. Watch the video.

Duane Foster Sings In Antigone In Ferguson
Antigone in Ferguson

Duane Foster sings in Antigone in Fergsuon

Wellspring Church, St. Louis, MO / 2016

Crowd In Howard Playground Brownsville Ny At Antigone In Ferguson
Antigone in Ferguson

Crowd on the basketball court

Howard Playground, Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY / 2017

Paul Giamatti Playing Creon In Antigone In Ferguson In Baltimore At Coppin State University
Antigone in Ferguson

Paul Giamatti playing Creon

Coppin State University, Baltimore, MD / 2017

Mrs Leggette Speaks In The Audience Of Antigone In Ferguson
Antigone in Ferguson

Mrs. Norma Leggette speaks in the audience during Antigone in Ferguson discussion

Wellspring Church, St. Louis, MO / 2016

Antigone in Ferguson

Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: Duane Foster

2018

Antigone in Ferguson

Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: Marcelle Davies-Lashley

Brooklyn, NY / 2018

Antigone in Ferguson

Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: De Andrea Blaylock-Johnson

Ferguson, MO / 2018

Antigone in Ferguson

Antigone in Ferguson, Meet the Choir: De-Rance Blaylock

Normandy High School, St. Louis, MO / 2018

Antigone in Ferguson

Antigone in Ferguson, Meet the Choir: Willie Wooodmore

St. Peters, MO / 2018

Antigone in Ferguson

Meet the Antigone in Ferguson Choir: Lt. Latricia Allen

St. Louis, MO / 2018

Antigoneferguson021
Antigone in Ferguson

The Healing Power of Greek Tragedy

Smithsonian Magazine / 2017

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Antigone in Ferguson

What About Justice?: Paul Giamatti and Sonja Sohn star in 'Antigone in Ferguson' at Coppin

City Paper / 2017

Read the article

Marcelle
Antigone in Ferguson

Michael Brown and the Raw Power of ‘Antigone in Ferguson’

The Daily Beast / 2018

Michael Brown Sr
Antigone in Ferguson

A Chorus Remembers Michael Brown in ‘Antigone in Ferguson’

The New York Times / 2018

Michael Brown Sr. served on the panel during the discussion of Antigone in Ferguson. Read the article.

Samira Wiley Antigone In Ferguson
Antigone in Ferguson

Antigone in Ferguson brings protest theater to Harlem

Time Out / 2018

Gloria Ruben Antigone In Ferguson
Antigone in Ferguson

Missouri Theater Embraces Ferguson Echoes In 'Antigone' Production

NPR / 2016

Antigone in Ferguson

Antigone in Ferguson - Onassis Festival NY - Antigone Now

Onassis Foundation USA / 2016

Antigone in Ferguson presented at the Onassis Foundation's Festival Antigone Now

Antigone in Ferguson

Antigone in Ferguson presented at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Nostos Festival

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece / 2017

Tracie Thoms plays Antigone August 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Tracie Thoms plays Antigone

on Zoom / 2020

On August 9 2020, we had the privilege of presenting Antigone in Ferguson as part of the 6th Annual Michael Brown Memorial Weekend in honor of the life of Michael Brown Jr., hosted by Chosen for Change with opening remarks by Cori Bush, and panelists: Gwen Carr, Valerie Bell, Uncle Bobby X, and Marion Gray-Hopkins, thousands of audience members tuned in from 48 countries.

Cori Bush delivers opening remarks Antigone in Ferguson Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Cori Bush delivers opening remarks

on Zoom / 2020

On August 9 2020, we had the privilege of presenting Antigone in Ferguson as part of the 6th Annual Michael Brown Memorial Weekend in honor of the life of Michael Brown Jr., hosted by Chosen for Change with opening remarks by Cori Bush, and panelists: Gwen Carr, Valerie Bell, Uncle Bobby X, and Marion Gray-Hopkins, thousands of audience members tuned in from 48 countries.

Oscar Isaac plays Creon Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Oscar Isaac plays Creon

on Zoom / 2020

Marjolaine Goldsmith in Antigone in Ferguson Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Marjolaine Goldsmith plays Ismene and Euridyce

on Zoom / 2020

Soloist De Rance Blaylock Antigone in Ferguson Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Soloist De-Rance Blaylock

on Zoom / 2020

Ato Blankson Wood plays Haemon Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Ato Blankson Wood plays Haemon

on Zoom / 2020

Willie Woodmore plays Tiresias Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Willie Woodmore plays Tiresias

on Zoom / 2020

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams Antigone in Fergson Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams plays the Messenger

on Zoom / 2020

Chorus Antigone in Ferguson Aug 9 2020
Antigone in Ferguson

Chorus of Antigone in Ferguson

on Zoom / 2020

The music composed and conducted by Phil Woodmore, is sung by 5 soloists and a choir composed of Activists, teachers, law enforcement officers, members of the faith community, and students, from St. Louis and New York City. Our sound technician Matt Craig, found a way to feature the music and vocalists on zoom so we could have a live performance of the music in the live event!

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