Presented by Epic Repertory Theatre Company at DR2, 103 E. 15 St., NYC, Oct. 28-Nov. 22.
One sincerely hopes that Richard Kuranda's disengaging production of Jean Anouilh's "Antigone" does not represent the capabilities of the newly established Epic Repertory Theatre Company, a group whose sheer ambition (its inaugural season includes three plays in rep) may eclipse its potential.
Splotchy paint on a plywood desk draws the eye before the production even begins. While Zhana Gurvich's erratic and jarring lighting design ultimately washes out the mottling, this initial impression of amateurism mars Dan Kuchar's potentially dynamic mirror-pillared set.
As Rufus Collins' overly jovial and eager-to-please Chorus details the backstory to the Antigone myth, it becomes clear that the performers have been given free rein to make their presence distractingly known. During Collins' speech, Carolyn Craig, as Antigone's beautiful and vapid sister Ismene, mugs and smiles broadly, although she later brings wise nuance to the role. Laura Johnson, as King Creon's page, reacts consistently during this speech, and in later scenes, to unfortunate effect.
As the story of Antigone's civil disobedience begins to unfold, Alicia Regan's dewy-eyed aloofness works well as Antigone teases her Nurse (an overly angry Ella Sloboda). Regan also displays well-articulated passion in this scene and later with Antigone's fiancé, Haemon, whom Darrell Stokes nicely imbues with boyish earnestness and confusion.
During the play's crucial scene with Creon, in which they debate man-made and heavenly law, one becomes too aware of Regan's reliance on staring into space as an indication of otherworldliness, particularly as David Gideon, who provides an ill-advised Mafioso interpretation of Creon, often stands with his back to the audience and delivers his lines over one shoulder.
After Creon has sentenced Antigone to death, Craig Rising's impassioned yet straightforward delivery of tragic events offstage comes as a relief. One hopes to find more such moments in future Epic Rep productions.