Q&A with Antigone’s leading lady

The Lariat sat down with Houston senior AnnaMae Durham, who plays Antigone in Baylor's production of "Antigone." Kristen DeHaven | Multimedia Journalist

By Madalyn Watson | Arts & Life Editor

On opening day of Baylor’s “Antigone,” the Lariat sat down with Houston senior AnnaMae Durham and got to know the woman behind the role of Antigone.

Had you read “Antigone” or seen another production of it before you auditioned for the play?

I read it three times last year for different classes. And each time I read it, I took something new from it and it just made me like it even more. I liked it from the beginning, I thought it was a really interesting and compelling story, and it spoke to me even now.

The translation that we’re doing is very modernized and very easy to understand and really accessible to audiences today and to actors today. It’s a very human story.

Who is Antigone?

She is a woman who cares a lot about her family and about protecting them.

Her father is Oedipus. Even though Oedipus did a lot of things wrong in his life, she is very protective of her sister and her brothers and about making sure that her bloodline is cared for. She’s very passionate about respecting the gods. She is a very, very passionate woman and very strong.

I’ve interpreted her as a symbol of strength and that just seems very different than, historically speaking, how women have been written. And I really respect her for standing up to authority and not backing down because she has such strong convictions about the things that are right. She cares a lot about justice and about making sure that people are cared for.

Why is it that your head was shaved for the show?

It was a design choice on [the director, John-Michael Marrs’] part. He really wanted an immediate symbol, a physical cue that this woman is set apart from the women of her time and the women of this play, and that she doesn’t care what these “norms” are. Because she’s a princess, Antigone is in line to be the ruler of Thebes, but she doesn’t care about what a princess should look like.

Are you planning on growing your hair out after the production is over?

If I don’t keep it now, it’s definitely an option in the future. If I’m sick of having hair, I know it’ll look good, or shave it off.

I might have to grow it out, though. My sister is getting married in February, and when I told her that I had to shave my head for this role, she was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ so I might have to grow it out just for her sake.

What inspired you to pursue theater?

Well, I really like telling stories. [Theater] was the first time I felt like I could be myself. Now since I want to do it as a career, I’ve kind of honed in on wanting to promote change through the art that I make. And I think theatre is a very good medium to do that with because it’s all about human connection and telling a story through human beings.

The theater is a great place to show different perspectives that audience members may not have heard before so that they can leave the theater with a more open mind and a more open heart toward other humans. I like making theater that’s provocative and that wants to inspire the audience members to be better people and to know themselves more, so that they can get to know other people better.

What other productions have you been in through Baylor’s theater program?

I was Sarah Harding in “Ice Glen,” which went up last year around the same time. I was in “Dear Edwina.” I’ve been in a lot of smaller workshop things that we’ve done. Also, apart from being an actor, I’m also a props master so I’ve built props for a lot of the shows that we’ve done.

What interested you in being a props master?

I am honestly equally as passionate about props as I am about acting. It’s once again telling a story, but through objects. I think we put a lot of meaning into the things that we have and the things that we use.

It’s really interesting to me figuring out a way to show an audience a person’s life through the things that they have and the ways that they use those things. It’s just another medium of telling this greater human thing. I also just really like crafting.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’m really proud of the show. I’m really proud of the work that has been put into it both on the part of the cast, the directors and especially the design team. I wish that designers for shows at Baylor got more credit for the things that they do.

They work very hard, and our entire design team for this show is students. They’re all students, which has never really been done before, and has been a really cool precedent. I just am so proud of them and the work that they’ve put in.