The Burial at Thebes

Oct 25, 2013 - Oct 27, 2013, 7:30 PM
Tom Miles Theatre (Warner Hall) - 2115 Pacific Ave.

Pacific University's Theatre Department to perform adaptation by late poet Seamus Heaney

Pacific University Theatre presents The Burial at Thebes, a version of Sophocles' Antigone, by Seamus Heaney as its fall production Oct. 24-27 in the Tom Miles Theatre (Warner Hall - 2115 Pacific Ave.).

Evening performances take place Thursday through Saturday and begin at 7:30 p.m, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 27.

General admission is $8. Senior citizens 65 and older, and Pacific students, faculty and staff are admitted for $5.

Irish poet laureate Seamus Heaney’s The Burial at Thebes was first commissioned and debuted by Ireland’s Abbey Theatre in April 2004. This modern translation of Antigone by Greek tragedian Sophocles acclimatizes the original text for modern audiences.

When brothers on opposite sides of a war perish in battle, Creon, king of Thebes, allows burial for only one. Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, defies orders to lay her other brother to rest.

Guest director Gemma Whelan describes Thebes as being a play “about the clash of opposing principles – the power of the individual pitted against the power of the state. It raises questions of individual and collective responsibility in society, and what it means to rule well.”

Whelan is the founding Artistic Director of Wilde Irish Productions in the Bay Area. She has directed over sixty productions, including the world premiere of Ithaka at Artists Repertory Theatre. A teacher in the Portland area since 2008, she is also the founding Artistic Director of the new Irish company, corrib theatre, where she most recently directed St. Nicholas by Conor McPherson.

Cast member and dramaturg Briana Tiano-Mohr ('14) remarks on the timelessness of the adapted script: "It is a classical play which is over 2,000 years old and yet which still has relevance to the world we live in today. I have always been more fond of 'older', classical plays than contemporary, because there is so much room to play creatively with a play written before our time and make it relevant again."

Whelan hopes that the production will honor and reflect the poignancy of Heaney’s words after his death in late August of this year. The play’s issues “remain relevant today as we continue to explore what it means to be a citizen of society, and of the world."


Posted by Michael Johnson ( on Oct 2, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Edited by Joe Lang ( on Oct 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

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