God and Country, Victory Gardens Theater. These days Sophocles’ Antigone is a hard sell. One of the most shocking aspects of the story for fifth-century BC Athenians was that Antigone was punished by King Creon for burying her brother and not, as was considered proper, turned over to her fiance, Creon’s son. The tragedy also depends on an audience knowing the full story of Oedipus, Antigone’s father/brother. Now imagine someone has set this difficult tragedy to music–not just any music but loud rock music packed with riffs borrowed from everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics running the gamut from awkward to banal. That’s God and Country, Douglas Post’s confused, utterly forgettable new version of Sophocles’ play.
Post, who wrote the brilliant “poetic thriller” Earth and Sky, seems clever enough to have found a way to cast this story in a modern context, as A.R. Gurney did in his amusing comedy Another Antigone. Instead Post follows the path of least resistance, pretty much sticking to Sophocles’ structure, substituting rock singing for all the lines of Greek verse. The result is an ungainly hybrid combining the glacial storytelling conventions of the ancient Greeks with the cliched drone of badly written rock. Not even director Jim Corti’s incredibly energetic three-person cast–Karla L. Beard, Jane Blass, and Dina DiCostanzo–can breathe life into this moribund world premiere.