New York | 1h 40m | Already closed

Antigone (BAM)

From 26 critic and 17 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Resonant

About the show

As part of BAM's Next Wave Festival, this new translation directed by Ivo Van Hove features Juliette Binoche as the rebellious and intense Antigone. More…

When her dead brother is decreed a traitor, his body left unburied beyond the city walls, Antigone refuses to accept this most severe of punishments. Defying her uncle who governs, she dares to say "No." Forging ahead with a funeral alone, she places personal allegiance before politics, a tenacious act that will trigger a cycle of destruction.


"The headliner -- and riveting center -- of 'Antigone' is Juliette Binoche in a lucid, vibrant, terrifically reasonable modern translation by poet Anne Carson...Although the iconoclastic Belgian director's brilliance, and often his outrageousness, are well known throughout Europe and in downtown Manhattan, the stark, fast-moving updated 'Antigone' is the kickoff of the city's unofficial van Hove year...It is elegant and thoughtfully moving in its tragic horror." Full Review


"Director van Hove gives 'Antigone' a contemporary urgency by keeping one foot in Sophocles' ancient world and another planted squarely in the present...This production makes clear that 'Antigone' has as much to say to today's audiences as it did to Sophocles'...Together van Hove and Sophocles try to teach us a timeless lesson about the dangers of extremist thought and the need for compromise. It's a lesson that, millennia later, we have yet to learn." Full Review

Stage and Cinema

"There is gravity to the playing space which echoes the gravity of what is happening in it. And while Mr. van Hove’s 'Antigone' isn’t a masterpiece, it is an excellent show, a work of art, inspired, thoughtful, in which everything clicks, and which stays with you after the performance is over." Full Review

Time Out New York

"At its best, this production sweeps away 3000 years of knowledge to deliver us at the feet of angry gods. It's flawed, absolutely, but also too rare to miss...There's still a sense of haste in some of his choices. The fundamentals of the production, including the performances and treatment of Carson's ravishing text, are beautiful. But its framing is haphazard, particularly the ending, which threatens to unravel the mysteries already spun." Full Review

Edge New York

"'Antigone' has been treated to an Anne Carson translation so alive that its run might be extended for another 2,500 years...While not without stumbles, van Hove paced the production so well it felt more like a gripping dirge than the variety of Greek revival that has challenged the genre's box office -- histrionics and boredom taking turns. The actors spoke softly and slowly, vessels of the material." Full Review

The Wrap

"Fans of the Belgian director won’t be disappointed by this modern-dress production, which turns the ruler Kreon into a 21st-century fascist...Van Hove’s productions aren’t always easy to watch, and this 'Antigone,' set in some desert landscape, is no exception. There’s a huge bright disc of a sun nearly blinding the audience at the beginning of the drama and again at the end...The production’s high point isn’t any of Kreon’s scenes with Antigone but with his son and Antigone’s fiance." Full Review


"It's unfortunate that van Hove wasn't able to point his leading lady in the right direction. But with its otherwise excellent cast and the director's sense of both the minimal and the grand, 'Antigone' is haunting. It's not exactly focused, but perhaps, like the projections, that's intentional. " Full Review

The New York Times

"In portraying this tale of civic and private wills at loggerheads, Mr. van Hove’s 'Antigone' unfolds with the clinical detachment of a professor of anatomy cutting into a universal cadaver...'Antigone' is more narcotizing than upsetting. This is not for want of heavy emoting from the ensemble. Ms. Binoche, as the fatally rebellious daughter, and Patrick O’Kane, as her antagonist, Creon, can be found writhing in the depths of agony...Yet somehow they never grab us by the guts." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Unfortunately, van Hove’s ultra clean – and can I say 'older?' – production avoided any conflict or contemporary issues and catered to a safe middle ground...The play’s theme of religion over politics is a big question still. I would have liked to see van Hove, of all directors out there, take the opportunity of Antigone to challenge us a little more. Instead, he plays it safe all around, with star casting and big visuals." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"In van Hove’s telling, the play is less about character than justice. Whether you will appreciate that depends largely on whether you like your Greek tragedy emotional or cerebral. Apparently, you have to choose...This production does everything it possibly can to argue rather than move — or, at best, to move through arguing...Apparently as uninterested in psychology as he is in sympathy, van Hove instead offers 'Antigone' as a cautionary tale about the rule of law." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Thoughtful, measured and more than a little dull, this 'Antigone' is not so much melodrama as meh-drama...Despite its contemporary relevance, the play suffers here from the mannered, modernistic approach of the acclaimed Belgian director...It's not just the modern dress and the set, or the ever-trendy video projections. It's more that the staging moves at a glacial pace, with the actors too often reciting their lines in a soft-spoken monotone that quickly proves tedious." Full Review


"Mediocre in pretty much every way...The play suffers from an odd combination of tonal self-importance and intentional (but clunkily executed) modern banalization. Still, through a series of not-so-palatable choices and underwhelming performances, it oddly does seem to interrogate and humanize Antigone’s acts." Full Review

AM New York

"Director Ivo von Hove works against its compelling and compact nature by slowing it down to an unbearable pace. Much of the dialogue is recited without emotion. The abstract design scheme, which contrasts a blazing sun and empty desert with a contemporary office and sofa, is intriguing but puzzling." Full Review


for a previous production "if you are open to the possibility that Greek tragedy can tap into the fears and troubles of any generation, then this is an irresistible production, compelling and disturbing...This is a vibrant and completely absorbing take on a classic from the Ancient Greek repertoire. The cast excels under van Hove’s centred, firm vision and all aspects of the production blend to triumphant results. It will leave you pondering the relationship between power and the individual, the state and tradition." Full Review


for a previous production "'Antigone' becomes a plea for pluralism in Ivo Van Hove’s new staging...the Belgian director turns Sophocles’s tragedy into a rallying cry against the us-and-them, black-and-white mentality of contemporary global politics. Anne Carson’s new translation, often insistently feminist, advocates the act of listening as the starting point of tolerance. It might lack feeling, but this is an urgent 'Antigone,' less about cathartic release than a real-world response." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

for a previous production "Listening is key in this production. It is deliberately understated, playing many of the arguments at conversational level, with the actors miked up. This is alienating at first, but it forces you to listen carefully. You hear Anne Carson’s wonderful new translation — supple, salty and vivid — and you hear the twisting and turning of the play...It’s a flawed production...But gradually the staging exerts a strange, transfixing spell." Full Review

Daily Mail (UK)

for a previous production "Mademoiselle Binoche may be the big draw, but there is more to it than that. Director Ivo van Hove goes for a modern-dress approach which, with Anne Carson’s informal new translation, gives it a sprightly tone...this is a fine, unusual, teenager-silencing show." Full Review

The London Evening Standard

for a previous production "This austere and slow-moving production, from Belgian director Ivo van Hove, isn’t set anywhere specific. Instead its location is an odd mix of drab office and an ethereal dreamscape that shimmers with video footage. The effect is strange and unsettling...Van Hove marshals his cast of eight with steely precision...But the production at times lacks emotional weight, and it feels a little disappointing." Full Review

The Arts Desk

for a previous production "It’s elegantly staged, with a marvellous new translation by Anne Carson that crackles with canny colloquialism and insight, features one of the best, most robust Greek choruses I’ve encountered and makes the play feel almost shockingly relevant...At times, however, Binoche is too manic, too shouty, mincing her words, belying the clarity of the text. And then you feel the audience leaving her." Full Review

The Independent (UK)

for a previous production "On paper, this is a de luxe proposition. Sophocles' play is one of the greatest and most inextricably unresolvable of Greek tragedies...In practice, however, it turns out to be an undeniably impressive but strangely unmoving experience – deliberate to a fault, full of thought-provoking interpretive decisions, yet incapable of grabbing you by the gut." Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "It starts so well, and so portentously...van Hove here attempts to have his Attic cake and eat it: ancient hubris with modern humanity. It doesn't work, not least because the vocal attributes of the cast are tinged with a horrid membrane of amplification and the stately motion of the actors around the stage is not matched by any uprush of demonic power or beauty." Full Review

Express UK

for a previous production "An enormous disc slides away like an eclipse revealing and, ultimately, blotting out the sun. Vague and non-specific, it is a device that fudges issues all over the place – we could be anywhere from North Africa to Damascus...Van Hove clearly dislikes histrionics and damps down the actors almost to a monotone...The actors often sound like they are on the verge of flatlining; it may be achingly fashionable but it is rather dull to listen to." Full Review

The Telegraph (UK)

for a previous production "There’s no getting away from it, though: I’m afraid it’s pretty lacklustre stuff...there’s a hole at the heart of this 90-minute affair; that elusive ability to make us make care...At the end, we get a surprise blast of the Velvet Underground’s 'Heroin' and the evening acquires a sudden upsurge of energy; alas, this rebellious shot in the arm comes too late to save the day." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "There’s scant cheer — not to mention engagement — to be found in the production of 'Antigone'...A stripped-back, abstract set in the minimalist style, but without the energy required to fire up the current staging’s savage debate between the personal and the political...Mr. van Hove’s attempt to be timeless actually speaks to no time at all. You emerge not dazed and enlightened but glad to get out." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "Greek tragedy, when performed superlatively, is unmediated – nothing stands in the way of emotion. I was not even faintly moved by this version of the tragedy, and it did not help that the actors’ voices were amplified, as if in acknowledgment of the production’s lack of reach. Sometimes it wasn’t even instantly evident who was speaking – where the sound was coming from." Full Review

Exquisite, Enchanting, Resonant

See it if It's a timely reinterpretation of a Classic myth. Outstanding performances.

Don't see it if This is not for the average theater goer. It's for the thoughtful, engaged spectator.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intense

See it if You are okay with seeing a dark play. Don't expect to laugh. Follow the story line. Gripping.

Don't see it if You are looking for comedy.

Slow, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if This is a very dark play. It's based on the greek tragedy. But I left there moved and in awe of the cast. Original sets.

Don't see it if It's a bit hard to follow at times. Very dark. Very depressing. Very moving.

Exquisite, Intelligent, Slow, Resonant, Arid

See it if an anti-Greek-ish tragedy entices. Conversational more than cathartic. Modern dress. Timeless words, deeds. Always intelligent & beautiful.

Don't see it if you'll find deliberate pacing, projections & modern music that may distract, a star performance that isn't all that, & talktalktalk agony.

Opera thrown in, Confusing, Indulgent, Lazy, Disappointing

See it if Seemed labour of love by self directing lead who, though good actress, was 2 old. Antigone MUST b a young woman. Opera throw in 4 no reason~

Don't see it if Was a lazy production-no effort w/staging, props, lighting, or costume. Age of "2 young lovers" being near 40 was distracting/play no sense~

Absorbing, Edgy, Intelligent

See it if you like classic think pieces and the original world's worse family Thanksgiving.

Don't see it if you don't to sit through about 6 suicides.

Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you enjoy political statements disguised in the form of a Greek tragedy. Cleverly presented as a modern day parable. No costumes, no sets.

Don't see it if you should be up on the Greek classic, especially at the end when a single actor sums up the finale with mumbled pentameter speech.

Confusing, Edgy, Overrated, Slow, Glacial

See it if (Saw in Edinburgh) You really insist on seeing a different take on this Greek classic. Go see other productions if you like Van Hove.

Don't see it if Yea, skip this one. Zero intensity, pace was horrible. I love Antigone. I was really bored. Even Binoche's talent can't save it. Set was ok.

Clever, Enchanting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You like Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You do not like drama.

Clever, Absorbing, Indulgent, Intense, Must see

See it if if you like more serious settings and acting

Don't see it if you are easily affected by yelling and screaming

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Romantic

See it if You enjoy a riveting, dramatic show.

Don't see it if You don't like crying.

Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Relevant

See it if You are interested in the history of theater and timeless themes of duty, responsibility and love.

Don't see it if Your favorite show is Cats.

Clever, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if the classics appeal to you

Don't see it if you need showstopping musical numbers

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if If you enjoy thought provoking drama.

Don't see it if Don't see it if you wish to see something light hearted. it does take allot out of you.

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Ivo Van Hove's direction as always is superb and Juliette Binoche stunning. But pacing a bit long and hard to hear in balcony.

Don't see it if you prefer comedies and fast paced shows.

During previews
Profound, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Absorbing, Intense

See it if Like highly stylized, dramatic interactions - if fitful & eruptive? The chorus is integrated into the story, playing characters when re-

Don't see it if quired. There's no sing-song Greek chorus here - perhaps, it's missed. This is modern, sleek staging w/ filmed projections and eerie music.

For a previous production

See it if You enjoy Greek tragedies.

Don't see it if If you don't enjoy Greek tragedies.

Cast & Creatives (14)