Antigone Banned!

Interesting that an adaptation of a 2500 year-old Greek drama could still resonate so powerfully that some folks would ban its presentation (tip o’ the pileus to whoever maintains the CAC’s Facebook page):

An aboriginal adaptation of the Greek tragedy Antigone will be staged Thursday on the Poundmaker Cree Nation in northern Saskatchewan, its author insists —even though the production has been banned by the reserve’s council.

The original version was written by Sophocles in 5th century B.C. The title character is a woman who wishes to give her brother a proper burial in defiance of authorities.

The disputed production was written in 1998 by Deanne Kasokeo and is set on a contemporary First Nations reserve led by a corrupt chief.

Kasokeo said it is this character that has led to her play being banned.

“The show will go on no matter what,” she said Wednesday. “I guess the chief feels the play was written about him.

“We got word last night that the chief and two of the councillors passed a motion to ban Antigone.”

The play is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the reserve about 200 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

It is the last show of the current run, which has included a performance on the Sakimay First Nation. It was originally staged at Regina’s Globe Theatre in 1998.

Kasokeo was particularly excited about Thursday’s performance, as both she and director Floyd Favel are from Poundmaker.

Chief Dwayne Antoine and two other Poundmaker council members voted to have the play banned at a closed meeting Tuesday, according to Kasokeo.

Kasokeo denies that the play has anything to do with Antoine or any other real person. “It has nothing to do with politics,” said Kasokeo. “The chiefs and our councillors feel it’s about them. That’s there problem. It’s not our problem.”

They first heard that the band council was concerned about the play about a week ago.

“We sent a letter as well as a script to show the play wasn’t about him,” Kasokeo said. They were not successful, and were informed that the chief would not let them into the hall the night of the performance.

According to Favel, they have contacted the RCMP and been told the council does not have the right to bar them from a community hall. He said they will use a police escort if necessary to gain entry.

Both Favel and Kasokeo stressed that they will not get involved in any physical altercations.

According to Kasokeo, being censored came as a big surprise. The entire company was very disappointed.

“We just think it’s tragic that our freedom of speech is being violated,” she said.

Calls by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix to the Poundmaker band office were not returned.

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