In honor of 125 years of women at Auburn University, the Auburn theater department has dedicated its shows this year to commemorating women within theater – writers, directors, choreographers and women in acting roles alike.
Throughout the 2017-18 school year, the theater department will present the current show, “Antigone,” as well as “God of Carnage,” “A Civil War Christmas,” “Chicago,” “Dance Concert” and “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.” All of the shows were either written by women or feature a wide range of women characters.
Three of the six shows were written by women – “God of Carnage,” “A Civil War Christmas” and “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” – and “Dance Concert” will be directed by two women professors in the theater department.
The first show put on in the Telfair Peet Theatre is Jean Anouilh’s 1944 adaptation of the play Antigone first performed in Nazi-occupied Paris. The play features the protagonist, Antigone, the daughter of now-dead King Oedipus, as she attempts to bury her brother against the edict of the new king.
The theater will be hosting Talkback Thursday along with the women’s studies program after the penultimate performance of Antigone on Sept. 28 in the Telfair Peet Theatre. The talk will focus on the play and the feminist principles represented within it.
Barbara Baker, executive director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, said the theater department has been an amazing partner for the 125th anniversary celebration.
“They dedicated their entire season to the contributions of women to theater arts and themed the season ‘Letting In the Light,’” Baker said. “They created beautiful art and design to complement their programs and integrated Auburn women into their designs.”
The theater department is encouraging students and community members to join them and the women’s studies program in the College of Liberal Arts for the roundtable discussion of the play. The discussion will also feature the play’s director, professor Daydrie Hague, along with cast members and theater department faculty.
“What can we learn from the dramatic tale of Antigone that is relevant to contemporary feminism and for the struggle for justice, representation, and goodness in face of authoritarian rule?” the Talkback Thursday description on the Auburn University Theatre Facebook page.
Cate Rasco, senior in theater and the department’s social media assistant, said she, especially as a woman, thinks the theater department’s choice to empower women through highlighting the 125th year at Auburn is important for a plethora of reasons.
“Our current department head Chase Bringardner wanted to incorporate what’s been going on at the University,” Rasco said. “It’s a big year for the University, so I think he wanted to incorporate that because in the theater we like to tell a variety of stories and represent people that aren’t usually represented in a favorable light or are kind of played down.”
She is currently performing in the run of “Antigone” as the role of the nurse. She said the theater department’s efforts to showcase strong women in all shapes and sizes rather than just as the dependent damsel in distress or the motherly figure is a vital part of accurate representation.
Performances of “Antigone” will run from Sept. 21-29 in the Telfair Peet Theatre.