How would you direct the confrontation between Creon and Haemon in order to achieve your chosen impact for your audience? The scene of confrontation between Creon and Haemon comes when Creon has sentenced Antigone, future bride of Haemon, to be shut up in the cave. I would want to show a contrast between the characters with costume, so that the audience would get a visual representation of their emotions. I would dress Creon in an extravagant red silken robe, with gold trimmings.
This would highlight his status as King, and also the red could signify a bloodthirsty attitude, as Creon is revelling in Antigone’s fate.
Contrastingly, Haemon would be wearing a simple black cotton robe, without any trimmings. This would show that he doesn’t care for superficial extravagance, and black is also a colour of mourning; this would symbolise Haemon’s feelings towards Antigone’s fate. In the opening of this scene, Creon greets Haemon pleasantly. I would direct Creon to grip Haemon’s right hand with both of his own hands, in a friendly, pleading handshake; this would show warmth for Haemon, which is what Creon wishes to express at this point.
He would maintain eye contact and stand with legs shoulder-width apart He would speak in a soft tone, with a slow pace, medium pitch and a relatively low volume, again to give the impression of warmth. In the line ‘we are always comrades, and my love for you is unshaken’, I would direct the actor playing Creon to emphasise the words ‘always’ and ‘unshaken’, stressing these superlatives, in order to exaggerate the positive feelings, diplomatically Haemon’s response would be in kind, reciprocating the respect. He would accept the handshake, and keep eye contact. His vocal qualities would be as those of Haemon.
He would say ‘I know I am your son, Father’, stressing the word ‘Father’ to show respect and also family love. During this exchange, they would both be very close physically, to show that they are, at this point, still emotionally close. The lighting would be a straw wash from above over the stage, of medium intensity: neutral. Creon would be next to a podium, centre-stage-left. Haemon would be centre stage, and the Chorus would be arranged in a semi-circle around them. During Creon’s following speech, I would want the audience to witness a change in Creon’s approach.
The first noticeable change in attitude would be when he says ‘Don’t be taken in/ Boy. Don’t let any woman ensnare you. ‘ His tone would become harsher, and lower almost as if speaking in a whisper. He would also grasp Haemon on the word ‘Boy’, to show the audience that he wants to instil certain sexist values in Haemon, as it is a subject he feels passionately about. Furthermore, he would almost spit the work ‘woman’ and emphasise the word ‘ensnare’ to present acidity to the audience. He would say ‘Don’t be taken in, Boy’ without changing his tone or pace, simply increasing intensity, to show the audience how sincere he is.
He would continue in this manner, speaking in harsh tones. The next change in Creon’s demeanour would come when he says ‘I will do it. And she must die’. Here, he would revert to speaking with authority, assertively. He would stress the modal verbs, ‘will’ and ‘must’ to show that he is completely fixed upon the idea, and is unwavering. This would show the audience his stubbornness. At this point, low-intensity, subtle red uplighting would have slowly faded in, to cast shadows upon Creon’s face to make him seem more imposing and venomous. It would be barely noticeable by the audience at this stage, as it would be slowly and subtly introduced.
Creon would also step back and stand straight at this point, and pause after the line, to highlight its significance to the audience. He would have his hands calmly by his sides. Creon would continue to rant, his volume increasing, and the red uplighting becoming stronger, as the straw wash slowly faded and his hand gestures becoming increasingly evident and expansive. On the line ‘Anarchy, disobedience,’ he would be banging his fists on his podium in anger, to show the audience how passionately he feels about the subject. He would be nearly shouting at this point, and Haemon would recoil slightly, in fear and surprise at Creon’s outburst.
Creon would next shift toward the end of his speech, and I would want my audience to see him bring back subtle persuasion, using the fact that he is Haemon’s father to his advantage: ‘Let it be by a man’s hand, eh son? / Not by a conspiracy of women! ‘. I would want him to go back to speaking in lower tones, almost at a stage-whisper level, as he wants to instil his own sexism, and apparent paranoia regarding women, into Haemon yet again. This repetition would show the audience just how sexist Creon is. I would therefore have the actor emphasise the words ‘man’ ‘son’, ‘conspiracy’ and ‘women’ to show this, and put one arm around Haemon.
The red uplighting would also dim at this point, the straw wash becoming more prominent; this would visually represent the change in tone to the audience. Following the Chorus’ somewhat neutral response, Haemon would reply by at first speaking pleasantries: ‘It’s not for me to say you are wrong’ is quite self-deprecating and is complimentary to Creon. Haemon would therefore speak it in a soft tone, and would physically lower himself by bending knees and back slightly. His volume would be medium at this point, and he would make no hand gestures. The lighting would remain as a straw wash, all red gone at this point.
Haemon would emphasise ‘me’ and ‘you’ to underline the fact he is making a direct comparison between himself and Creon. Haemon would change in approach right on the line ‘But I can sometimes hear people whisper’. The word ‘but’ here is a clear discursive marker in the text, indicating a change. Also, Haemon begins to discuss how ‘people’ see Antigone’s punishment as unjust. He would thus take a step back is if expecting an outburst from Creon, and emphasise words like ‘people’ and ‘whisper’ to show the audience that the character aims to dissociate himself from the views.
He would become more pleading as the speech progresses, ‘let me beg you to have second thoughts’ and ‘I beg you Father’. This is again showing he accepts inferiority, but also makes clear to the audience that he is against his fathers actions. The metaphors regarding the failure of stubborn things would be spoken with a degree of accusation regarding Creon; Haemon would look at Creon when saying ‘inflexible’ and ‘refuses’ to indicate that there refer to Creon.
At the end of the speech he says ‘Take good advice when it is offered. ‘ This is a direct question to Creon, and I would have Haemon on one knee, clasping Creon’s hand at this point, to show his desperation to the audience. In the ensuing stichomythia, I would instruct Creon to increase in volume, pace and raise his voice at the end of each sentence. Also, I would want him to spit phrases like ‘You’re a woman’s mouthpiece! ‘, whilst shaking his arms, palms clawed and facing up to show rage to the audience.
Comparatively, I would instruct Haemon to remain calm, speaking in controlled tones and a steady volume throughout, making few hand gestures. Haemon would instead increase in cold contempt, by sharpening the sound of his vowels at the ends of sentences, and speaking in a low tone, and emphasising certain words. He would emphasise the word ‘demented’, but without raising the volume of his voice a great deal. Also, at the end, when Haemon says ‘… this disgusting spectacle/ In company with a madman, are welcome to it’, I would want him to speak this calmly; without varying his pace.
He would say this emphasising ‘disgusting spectacle’ and ‘madman’ by raising pitch and volume a little. This would show the audience that he feels contempt toward Creon, but is above just shouting. Creon, on the other hand, would be virtually screaming ‘Bring her out, the bitch’, emphasising the word ‘bitch’ by stressing the harsh vowel sound, and gesturing wildly towards the side entrance, as if indicating from where she should be brought. This would show the audience that Creon has lost his composure, and has lost control of his rage.
The lighting would be red uplighting again on Creon only, to cast shadows across his face, whilst a blue gel, to mix with the straw wash, would be coming in from above. Overall, this should all contribute into presenting Haemon into an emotionally controlled, stable character, whereas Creon would appear as quite the opposite; unreasonable, stubborn and emotionally volatile. The objective would be to present the characters as such, to encourage the audience to sympathise with Haemon, even empathise with him; ideally, the audience too would feel frustrated and contemptuous towards Creon.