To Mock the Spirits: <i>Yup'ik Antigone</i> in the Arctic

Dave Hunsaker

in Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586196
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728754 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

To Mock the Spirits: Yup'ik Antigone in the Arctic

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In 1984, Dave Hunsaker and Jim Simard directed Yup'ik Antigone with the active collaboration of a local Yu'pik community in Toksook Bay on the Bering Sea coast in Western Alaska. Hunsaker aimed to create a dialogue between a famous Western text and a living local tradition. The Yup'ik story of a village headman in ancient times who, in spite of the warnings of elders and the shaman, had become overly dictatorial, his actions throwing the natural world out of balance, resembled Sophocles' Creon, who also ignored admonitions of the elders and shaman; Antigone resembled ‘innocents of the village who were doomed to starvation by the actions of the tyrant’. The production focused on the effect of a tyrant's actions on innocent villagers, and the dangers of ignoring the advice and wisdom of the elders; it embodied these ideas by embedding Sophocles' play in Yup'ik festal traditions and folklore.

Keywords: Greek tragedy; Antigone; reception; theatre; Yup'ik theatre; Sophocles; classics; Native American theatre; ritual; song

Chapter.  7090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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