In 1944, when French playwright Jean Anouilh wrote "Antigone," the Nazis controlled his country. His play, an adaptation of the 2,500-year old Sophocles play based on the Greek myth, was so complex that most people saw it as an attack on the Vichy government, but the Nazis apparently missed that message and allowed it to be produced.
Five years later, the play came to England, in one of the most famous productions in theater history. Laurence Olivier produced the play, and appeared in the major role of the Chorus, and Vivien Leigh took the title role.
It has become the most celebrated play by one of the most celebrated 20th-century playwrights.
It's next up from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Its three-week run opens Tuesday at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
Anouilh's play uses the story of Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus and his mother, and Creon, her uncle, as an exploration of authority.
Anouilh was secretive about his own politics, and was accused of being a Nazi sympathizer even though his most famous play is largely seen as an attack on authoritarianism.
Now, 70 years after it was written, "Antigone" is considered a masterpiece of theater, not a political polemic.
Details: April 8-27 in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $55-$69. Information: 941-351-8000, www.asolorep.org.
-- Marty Clear