By the end almost everyone is dead. Antigone resisted Creon’s laws and in an act of unconditional sibling-love, buried her brother Polynices. Creon, king of Thebes and Antigone’s uncle, condemns his niece to death for it: »Any man who considers private friendship to be more important than the state is a man of naught.« But when his son Haimon and his wife Euridice follow her to the grave and he’s left full of desperation, he’s forced to admit: »I am nothing more than a man of naught.« The realisation comes too late, the tragedy has come to pass, systemic change failed to materialize. »So, we can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change and it has to start today.« Greta Thunberg
Leonie Böhm begins her appropriation of the Ancient Greek classic in a moment when everything is not yet lost. Together with the ensemble, she playfully investigates how inner chains can be cast off. How can we enable the transformation of consciousness needed for sustainable change? How can we let go of what’s keeping us from reinventing ourselves, reconnecting ourselves?
»Creon has a huge need for security. Creon keeps the system going. Creon is easily offended. Antigone wants systemic change. Antigone believes in radical honesty and non-violent resistance. I am Antigone. But I am also Creon. Because for systemic change to take place, we must be in the position to overcome our own need for security as well. For a transformation to take place, we have to let go of the concepts we hold on to. How do we come up with the courage required for such a change in consciousness? Violence always just produces a deterrent but not a transformation of consciousness. But that would be what was necessary for a world that is not built on hierarchical, exploitative principles. And that’s what this play is about for me.« Leonie Böhm
Leonie Böhm is known for concentrating canonized texts down to the thoughts and feelings residing in them. Classics are durable. They can be carved up, condensed and compiled in a new way. Compared to the present again and again, and their characters interrogated about our here and now. The focus in the process is on aiming to take their thoughts and feelings seriously and to understand them in their actions. Leonie Böhm’s perspective on the ancient myth of Medea* was invited to the 2021 Theatertreffen festival.
Photo: Esra Rotthoff