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UWF Theatre Teaches Mental Health in Antigone

This weekend, Victoria Grace, a senior theatre student here at UWF, will be presenting her representation of the classical tragedy, Antigone.

The name Victoria Grace my sound familiar to you as Gina Castro wrote this piece on her in the past about her being the first student allowed to direct the theatre department’s annual rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

 Antigone will be her final time as a student director here on campus. It’ll showcase the talents she fostered here as well as the skills of the student performers here on campus.

She expounded to say that on this show in particular, just as much time was spent at the table as on the stage.  She spent a majority of her early rehearsal time talking with the actors and designers about what they got from the show, their interpretation and the effect that the plot had on them.  Only after this did she move them to the stage and began blocking.

Actor Wyatt Davis stated, “It’s multifaceted, not only are we learning about the characters, we are learning about ancient Greece as well.”

For him, the entire play is very reminiscent of the quote: “Humanity’s problems have never changed.  The costumes have changed and the setting has changed, but the problems have never changed.”

“[It’s] one of my favorites,” Grace said. “It speaks to a myriad of modern issues, and I find it interesting how something so old can still be so relevant.”

The play itself was written by the Greek playwright Sophocles prior to 441 B.C. and deals with issues such as depression, suicide, and post-traumatic stress disorder, just a few of the mental health concerns facing the modern college student.  In a time when discussions about these topics are finally being opened up publically and on campus, Grace believes that this will be a much needed event to draw even more into the conversation and tell those struggling that they aren’t alone.

“Antigone deals with alot of mental health issues,” said Grace. “Things that are difficult to talk about but especially here on campus.”

She said she hopes that, by seeing these problems in a dramatic form, a wider audience will feel more open to join the discussions already in progress (such as during events like “Take Back the Night”) and even start their own discussions.

“Our interpretation of Antigone doesn’t have a true villain,” said actress Hannah Cereghino. “We as a cast determined that no character is completely wrong.”

Cereghino went on to say that each character has their own flaws and traits that will make them identifiable to the audience in an inclusive manner.

Antigone will be performed this weekend on the evenings of April 19 and April 20 at 7:30 p.m.  There will be no tickets and no admission. Guests are encouraged to simply walk in and take a seat in the mainstage theatre of the Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

For those who stay afterward, there will be a question and answer session with the director about the themes of the show.  We hope to see you there!

For more information on Victoria Grace, see her website at itsvictoriagrace.com

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