Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Journey - Day 5

The day starts off right as the call goes well. A quick e-mail to let the team know what came out of it and off to class with 2 minutes to spare.

For some reason it seems like each day we start with a Greek text – I guess the instructors think that they should get the hardest stuff out of the way first. Today it’s Plato’s Ascent from the Cave. Everybody is in a good mood and joking away until one of our fellow students relates it to a near death experience she had as a teenager when she was in a coma after a car accident. Then one of the instructors says how on his deathbed his father spoke of “going up a staircase”. For a moment we move from the mind to the spirit, and then back again.

The topic is leadership, and it is probably no coincidence that our readings are the most accessible so far (well, except for that Plato). Instead of the absolutes of being, they talk about the realities of how humans behave. Instead of one solution they talk about pluralism and the importance of underlying values.

The grand moment has finally arrived: this afternoon we put on our post modern, media mad performance of Antigone! We meet first for a final rehearsal, make last minute changes, and are ready to go on. As the teachers arrive – an audience of three – I realize that we need to give an introduction. I ad lib that I am “Jean Jacques Rousseau, artistic director of the Theatre de la LibertĂ©”, ask everybody to turn off their cell phones and three way pagers…and we’re off.

Antigone and her sister Ismene argue on the Charlie Rose show, then later get fired from The Apprentice. King Creon holds a press conference at the Palace of Thebes and says he’s “the decider”. Antigone reappears as Princess Diana fighting with Creon as Prince Philip. Antigone’s fiancĂ© Haemon dukes it out with his father Creon on The Jerry Springer Show. Teresias the seer becomes a televangelist from 1-800-ZEUSNOW and saves Creon to resounding “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” from the audience. Stan Messenger from WThBS interviews Creon’s wife Eurydice live from the palace as she hears the news that her son is dead. Creon laments everyone’s death in Spanish in pure Univison telenovela style. But the scene that steals the show is Antigone as “Lonely Girl” on ZeusTube, complaining about being grounded to her tomb and how her uncle Creon has “ruined my life”.

The applause is thunderous (well, as thunderous as three pairs of hands clapping can be). We debrief the meaning of the play for an hour, then go to our celebration dinner. Many speeches are said, we receive our diplomas (although we still have another session tomorrow) and go for our last evening night cap.

Someone checks the weather report for the next day: it’s expected to snow. Will we be snowed in and have to stay another day?

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