William Head on Stage is once again putting on a show at the William Head Institution in Metchosin this year.
Since 1981, the men at the facility have put together a play each fall. This year, the 57th production is Antigone, a science-fiction interpretation of an ancient Greek tragedy by Sophocles.
This year’s production is being directed by Vancouver Island University (VIU) professor Eliza Gardiner. In order to recognize ancient Greek tradition, she asked for an all-male cast. There are three female characters in the play that will all be played by men.
Gardiner worked with the men and created a new ending for the play which is grounded in non-violent and restorative justice principles.
Gardiner became involved with the production this year because of research she has been conducting at VIU. “I teach applied theatre courses otherwise known in scholarly terms as participatory theatre classes which in a nutshell propose that performing arts methods can be used across the sectors, so therefore not necessarily with artists and theatre practitioners per say,” she said.
She added that marginalized youth, seniors, people suffering from trauma or addictions, and elementary school programs about bullying could use participatory or applied theatre practices.
Gardiner co-teaches a class with a criminology professor and together, they have developed a interdisciplinary program that uses theatre practices to investigate criminological behaviour. “This project – a very historical and successful project – running as a social program through Corrections Canada, it really aligns with my research in extremely profound ways,” Gardiner said. “I’m really privileged and extremely grateful for the good timing that connects to what I’m doing here on campus as well as a real sincere professional and personal goal to raise up civilization using the arts and celebrating the potential to participate.”
While they will be maintaining the classic plot with clad masks to honour Greek tradition, there will be a futuristic look as well with neon paints, electrical wires and foam.
Performances are scheduled for Oct. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 as well as Nov. 2 to 4. There will also be a matinee on Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m. The other shows start at 7:30 p.m. with gates opening at 6:15. No latecomers will be allowed entry. The show is a 19-plus event. Personal belongings, including purses, wallets, cell phones, and money, are not allowed inside and must be left in your car. Photo identification is also required.
Tickets for the performance are $20 and can be purchased at online at ticketrocket.org or at 101-804 Broughton St. Tickets are also available at the Boston Pizza on Veterans Memorial Parkway with cash only.