The seventh and final performance of Sophocles’ Antigone was Sat. Sept. 27 at the Kiplinger Theatre. The play was produced in cooperation with the 2003-2004 New Student Reading Project, which also included a large-group symposium in Barton Hall on Aug. 24 and about 235 small-group discussions on Aug. 25.
Isaac Kramnick, vice provost for undergraduate affairs, felt that all three aspects of the project were successful. “I thought things went very well. I’ve been hearing discussions about Antigone striking a sensitive chord in groups. Feedback [from the students] was easier and more exciting than that on Frankenstein,” the novel by Mary Shelley that was the subject of last year’s reading project.
Upper-class volunteers in the small-group sessions also noticed better participation from new students compared to previous years. “There was more discussion this year about this topic than there was last year with Frankenstein and considerably more than with Guns, Germs and Steel the year before,” said Marcy Patrick ’04.
The Aug. 24 symposium featured a staged reading of a portion of Antigone, a faculty panel discussion and audience dialogue. The faculty panel included the play’s director, David Feldshuh, Prof. Michelle Moody-Adams, philosophy, and Prof. Jeffrey Rusten, classics.
“The speakers were great, and the student comments were wonderfully representative of how bright and talented our freshmen are,” Kramnick said.
However, Kramnick was not enthusiastic about some student’s behavior during the symposium. “I was a bit upset with some who left noisily in the middle of the program,” he said.
Some students were engaged by the program at the symposium, but did not stay through to the end. “I went to the auditorium discussion, and was impressed by the caliber of people they had speaking.