|Written by||Jean Anouilh|
First Guard (Jonas)
Second Guard (a Corporal)
|Date premiered||February 6, 1944|
Jean Anouilh's play Antigone is a tragedy inspired by Greek mythology and the play of the same name (Antigone, by Sophocles) from the fifth century B.C. In English, it is often distinguished from its antecedent by being pronounced similarly to its original French form [ɑ̃tiɡɔn], approximately on-tee-GONE.
The play was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre de l'Atelier on February 6, 1944, during the Nazi occupation. Produced under Nazi censorship, the play is purposefully ambiguous with regard to the rejection of authority (represented by Antigone) and the acceptance of it (represented by Creon). The parallels to the French Resistance and the Nazi occupation are clear, however.
The play received its British première by the Old Vic Theatre Company at the New Theatre, London, on 10 February 1949. The production was produced by Laurence Olivier (who also played the role of Chorus) and had the following cast:
- Chorus - Laurence Olivier
- Antigone - Vivien Leigh
- Nurse - Eileen Beldon
- Ismene - Meg Maxwell
- Haemon - Dan Cunningham
- Creon - George Relph
- First Guard (Jonas) - Thomas Heathcote
- Second Guard (a Corporal) - Hugh Stewart
- Third Guard - George Cooper
- Messenger - Terence Morgan
- Page - Michael Redington
- Eurydice - Helen Beck
Actress Katharine Cornell produced and starred in a 1946 production at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. Sir Cedric Hardwicke played the role of King Creon. Also performing were Bertha Belmore, Wesley Addy, Ruth Matteson, George Mathews, and Oliver Cliff, and Marlon Brando (as the Messenger), Michael Higgins (The Third Guard). The production was staged by Cornell's husband Guthrie McClintic.
- Jean Anouilh (1951): Antigone. Methuen & Co Ltd, London. ISBN 0-413-30860-X.
- Google Books: Antigone at the National Theatre, 1946
- Tad Mosel, "Leading Lady: The World and Theatre of Katharine Cornell", Little, Brown & Co., Boston (1978)