"Antigone in New York"

February 14, 2007
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, kmiller26@csub.edu or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, mnewell1@csub.edu

A dark comedy that Time Magazine once named as one of the "best 10 plays of the year" is set to take stage at California State University, Bakersfield. Performances of Janusz Glowacki's "Antigone in New York" are slated for Feb. 22-25 in CSUB's Doré Arena Theatre on campus.

"Antigone" concerns a homeless Puerto Rican woman, Anita, who wants to steal the body of her lover from Potter's Field and bury it in a city park. She and her accomplices, two homeless Eastern European refugees, end up with the wrong body and a myriad of problems. Play director Maria-Tania Becerra, CSUB theatre professor, said this piece is relatable in today's society because "The play deals with pertinent issues like immigration and homelessness."

Andrea Sanchez, who plays Anita, believes the play to be thought provoking on the issue, "Anita has been through a rough life yet she has always found a way to keep going. She is a strong woman but the tragedies in her life have caused her to go a little crazy. However, this only makes her character more interesting and lovable. Anita gives the homeless a name, a face and a dream. She makes people realize that the homeless also have dreams of a better life. The difference is they are unable to achieve those dreams not because they were lazy like many of us would like to think, but because they lack the resources," the 18-year-old freshman said. "Hopefully this play will not only entertain but will also influence the way people treat the next homeless person they encounter."

The character Flea has been a test as well for communications and theatre major Michael Pawloski. "It has been very challenging to play this part because of the demands of the character. This is not an easy part that anyone can play; you have to put in so much effort and be willing to go the extra mile. I had to do research, come up with numerous objectives, and pay attention to all the detailed notes from the director to make sure her vision for the character was coming across. Plus, Maria-Tania has been awesome to work with, has really been able to accept my ideas for my character and be there for me when I was having issues and problems."

While the writing portrays some of the underlining difficulties the homeless face, there is a comedic side to the work. "Flea is crazy," Pawloski continued. "He goes from topic to topic and is a speed talker; he is one of those characters people can't take their eyes off because he is constantly moving, thinking, doing something hilarious like itching from lice. Also it's fun to see this character's motives because you realize he just thinks for himself and doesn't care about anyone. He will try anything to get his way."

Other student actors featured in "Antigone" include Michael Mejia, as Paulie, the deceased love interest; Danvir Grewal, as Sasha, a homeless Russian immigrant; and Todd Marion Jr., as Jim Murphy, a cop who often says what audience members are thinking.

Glowacki is the author of eight plays, 10 books, six screenplays and 10 radio plays. Four of his movie scripts were produced in Poland, one directed by Oscar-winning Andrzej Wajda. In 1999 his screenplay, "Hairdo," won the Tony Cox Screenwriting Award in the Nantucket Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Glowacki is Polish born, but has lived in New York since 1982.

"Antigone" opens in the Doré Arena Theatre at the CSUB campus on Thursday, Feb. 22 for a five-performance run. The curtain will rise at 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 22-24, with two-matinee performances Feb. 24-25 at 2 p.m. Cost is $10 general admission, $8 for faculty, staff and senior citizens; and $5 for students with identification. Seating is limited. The play has adult language and will have cigarette smoke.

For tickets, please call the CSUB Theatre Box office at (661) 654-3150. For more information, please call Mandy Rees at (661) 654-2240.