Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine’s



The world premiere of Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine’s from Mason's School of Theater and the Mason Players was performed in Harris Theatre on Mason's Fairfax campus from March 21-24, 2024.

The play is written by Madhuri Shekar. Here is how Director Deb Sivigny brought the script to life: 

"GRETA: I feel like you see us. Like, you’re the only one here who sees us.

When I was a teenager (go CRHS class of ’95!) I desperately wanted to be seen. Seen by teachers, seen by boys, seen by girls…anybody who cared about me beyond the shallow day-to-day interactions of high school. There was a distinct social order, and while that sounds trope-y, the repercussions of that time shaped the person I’ve become since then, for good and well, less good.

The setting of this play--mid-1990s, rural Connecticut, private Catholic girls’ school creates a pressure cooker created both by the institution of the Church and complex teenage relationships in a pre-cell phone, pre-social media world.

However, with the knowledge of “me-too” stories of the past decade, this play pushes hard on our present unwillingness to interpret nuances in the student-teacher relationship. As the play begins, I’m fascinated by the character of Jamie/Mr. Reed, who almost feels like 2024 walked in the door. He’s smart, funny, passionate; he sees these young women in a way that they haven’t been seen before. While I personally don’t condone his actions, I invite you to consider what community accountability looks like, and how a character like Jamie might be helped by restorative justice. He is human, he made some very bad decisions, but is he the worst of the worst?

I’m riveted by the blurry lines between information and gossip, protest and rebellion. Playwright Madhuri Shekar uses the themes and text from Sophocles’ Antigone to play out the conflict between the women, giving every moment a dual meaning. Antigone wanted to commit a rebellious act against the wishes of the King, bending fate and her destiny towards her own death. But what is “death” for Marilyn? And what is it for Greta? Is professing a deep affection for another human a sin?

Non-believers are often quick to criticize that the Church has too many restrictive rules and regulations; but I’m interested in how structure can create the image of freedom for believers and how it resonates with the belief systems of each of the characters. We’ve read many stories about the abuse of power in the Catholic Church, especially non-consensual circumstances between priests and young boys. However, what does a consensual pairing look like in the eyes of the Church? Does age matter? Why is love between two women or two men more abominable in the eyes of the Church? Where is the actual line between what is okay and what is not, and who’s responsibility is it to maintain the line?"