The Antigone (441 B.C. – present)

 

 

[Instructions to the Mime]

 

Raise your right hand

like making a pledge

and face the audience.

Both your hand and your face open,

stare blankly.

Turn your palm

out from the audience.

Your hand is an open face,

the term Janus-faced

coming back to you from mythology.

Pass your hand

across your face.

Smile,

a new expression emergent.

You are happy for a time.

Pass the hand back

to express sheer fright.

Hold steady.

Pass again

to show despair.

Pass, jealousy.

Pass, compassion.

Work with anxiety

degrees of joy

veneration

lethargy

boredom

approbation.

I feel vulnerable,

achingly so,

though I’ve wiped away

the face of jealousy,

though I’ve been trying on

dumb faces all day long,

I feel like a stone at the bottom of a river.

How now to finish as I started?

 

 

[The Antigone]

 

Say there was a young woman whose brother lay dead in the street rotting.

With nothing other than these details to go by,

either facing the audience or looking away,

say aloud four possible reasons for not moving the body in the first place.

Otherwise, making two indistinct columns and working as quickly as possible,

jot down like a regular Sophocles your responses to this thing without body:

What                                                   is

the                                                       val-

-ue                                                       of

life                                                       with

or                                                         with-

out                                                       love?