Sabella Mezzapelle, FHS junior, and Emily Garneau, FHS sophomore, rehearse for the FHS fall play, “Antigone Now.” Submitted photo by Charles Chipman

FREEPORT — Freeport High School theater arts students will stage an outdoor production of “Antigone Now” at 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Oct. 23 to 25. Playscripts Inc. describes this adaptation as a “…contemporary response to the myth of Antigone…” Antigone, played by FHS junior, Ella Vertenten, strives to bury her brother, Polyneices, with honor, defying a decree from the king (who also happens to be her uncle) that, “No one may bury him, no one may touch him. It’s against the law.” Drama ensues as the characters fight to preserve the laws of the city while keeping the family intact.

“Theater artists have been wearing masks since 400BC, so why can’t we?” said Natalie Safley, theater arts director at Freeport High School, when discussing their upcoming fall play performance. When schools shut down last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of theaters also went dark, canceling shows across the country.

Once Safley learned that RSU 5 was going to return to school this fall under a hybrid plan, where students attend in person part of the time, she reached out to FHS Principal Jen Gulko to discuss doing a fall production. Maine CDC guidelines prevent musical performances at this time, and currently limit outdoor gatherings to 100. Safley and Gulko determined that a small-cast fall play, produced outside and in accordance with all current safety guidelines, could take place. Safley rushed to choose a script, gather her artistic team and conduct auditions. Of the experience, she notes, “Putting together a show in five weeks instead of 10 is an unbelievable undertaking, but FHS accepted the challenge.”

All performances will be held outdoors, adjacent to the entrance to the Joan Benoit Samuelson Stadium at 30 Holbrook St. Tickets must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be sold at the door. All patrons must wear a mask, practice social distancing and should bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Purchase tickets to live performances at http://bit.ly/FHSAntigone.


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