Based on Sophocles' Greek tragedy Antigone, Pomegranate SWERVE presents Antigone 24x7, a Zoom Play. The play has been re-imagined by young adult actors and writers.
Speaking exclusively to the Free Press Journal, director of the play Gerish Khemani gave interesting insights into the making process. The play was originally performed in 2014 and 2016, but this is the first time the team is doing it for online. “If we are doing a play online we have to justify it. The audience should not fell like 'they wanted to do it on stage, but since they can't, they are doing it online'. True in a way, but we still need to justify why people were speaking to each other via zoom and were not physically together. In the play, the city of Thebes has gone through a Civil War and there is tremendous chaos and turbulence. So, in the play we showed Creon enforcing a political lockdown to restore order. We justified the lockdown not in terms of the pandemic, but in terms of a political situation and that's why people are meeting on Zoom,” Khemani says.
The team, Khemani says, rehearsed each scene for several days and finally shot it through Zoom's record option. It was only after several rehearsals that they would manage to get one good scene. And, after getting all the good scenes in place, Khemani sat (virtually) with the editor, a student again, and brought the whole play together.
The biggest challenge for Khemani and the students was internet connectivity. “You have a good take going on and somebody's internet lags and the whole take goes for a toss. And we have to do it again,” Khemani explains.
And since none of them were working in a professional set-up, they had to make do with whatever little they had — right from lights to costume, even the background, everything was recreated with minimal resources.
Playing King Creon is 16-year-old Zayaan Doloo. Speaking about his experience of working in the play, he says, “It was a very challenging, but an exciting process. Acting on this platform was a completely different experience compared to acting on stage. It has been a lovely experience working with this cast and the super-energetic director Gerish and this play will always hold a special place in my heart.
Kush Shah, 17, who plays Haemon, adds, "Working on Antigone was, is and will always be the most fruitful experience of my life. We have lived the characters inside our heads for so long, so many times, that the rehearsal space — online and offline — has become our second home, and the play, our second life."
Stepping into Antigone's shoes is Ira Sharma, 18. Speaking about her experience, Ira says, “The best part of this experience was that there were no rules. Since the world of digital theatre is new, we got to find our own voice, right from working on the script to finding ways to seamlessly integrate technology into the play. All the long calls and re-shoots were definitely worth it!”
The play also has mesmerising music composed by 21-year-old Aryan, who is currently in New York studying Digital Media. “While there are definitely some added difficulties in terms of us losing a lot of time to communicate, I have a very strong relationship with the director Gerish. We have a shared understanding of what the final product should be, so I guess I was always working towards that goal. There are definitely things we can improve upon and streamline the entire process,” says Aryan.
You can watch the play on September 12 and 13, at 6:00 pm (for ages 14 years and above). To book tickets, visit www.insider.in