‘Humanism’, Scenography, Ideology: <i>Antigone</i> at the Finnish National Theatre, 1968

Hana Worthen

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

‘Humanism’, Scenography, Ideology: Antigone at the Finnish National Theatre, 1968

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This chapter examines the only post-war Finnish production of Sophocles' play in 1968 at the National Theatre in Helsinki, which was a deliberate attempt to stage a conservative, ‘humanistic’ production that ‘captured the ideology of a Western leaning democracy on the border of the Soviet Union’ as well as to repress memories of the Finnish alliance with Germany's third Reich during World War II. The production's effort to maintain an ‘apolitical’ and ‘universalizing’ humanism and neutrality, was undermined by the modernist set designs of Josef Svoboda, and by the production's failure to suppress the association between humanism and racial discrimination in Finland during World War II. Left-wing reviewers also insisted on rejecting neutrality as an option for any production of Antigone.

Keywords: Greek tragedy; Antigone; reception; Finnish theatre; humanism; classics; theatre; Josef Svoboda

Chapter.  3165 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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