Antigone in Ferguson is a groundbreaking project that fuses dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of Sophocles’ Antigone with live choral music performed by a diverse choir, from St. Louis, Missouri and New York City culminating in powerful, healing discussions about racialized violence, police brutality, systemic oppression, gender-based violence, health inequality, and social justice. The project 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, and has since toured the country and the world.
In light of the uprising and protests catalyzed by the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, and many others; and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on black and brown communities, Antigone in Ferguson aims to generate dialogue, consciousness, compassion, outrage, understanding, and positive action at this critical moment. This special presentation of Antigone in Ferguson on Zoom will foreground the perspectives of people in Baltimore, Maryland whose lives have been impacted by police brutality, community violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Co-presented by Theater of War Productions, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, and the Johns Hopkins Program in Arts, Humanities & Health.
This event will have a focus in the Baltimore area, and is open to the public.
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?
Addiction & Substance AbuseThe Dionysus Project
The Dionysus Project is an innovative public health project that presents readings of scenes from Euripides' Bacchae, an ancient Greek play about the destructive power of intoxication, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the impact of substance abuse and addiction upon individuals, families, and communities. The project uses an ancient Greek tragedy, written nearly 2500 years ago, to engage audiences in crucial discussions about the timelessness of the human struggle with substance abuse and addiction, as well as resources and solutions that communities can utilize today.
Medea timelessly depicts how scorned passion can lead to revenge and, sometimes, unthinkable violence. This project, which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in June 2016, delves into under-discussed mental health issues that affect women and their families.
Natural DisasterThe Tohoku Project
The Tohoku Project: Sumidagawa presents powerful dramatic readings by professional actors of Sumidagawa, a Noh play from the early 15th Century that timelessly depicts the unique challenges faced by parents in the wake of unimaginable disaster. Each reading is followed by the responses of community panelists, culminating in a lively, facilitated audience discussion. This interactive event promotes healthy, constructive dialogue about the lasting impact of the Tohoku disaster upon individuals, families, and communities—fostering compassion, understanding, awareness, and positive action.