Institute History

  • 1997 June Screenwriters Lab


Based on the un-dramatized period between Sophocles' OEDIPUS REX and OEDIPUS AT COLONUS, ANTIGONE is a road movie set in contemporary Greece. The script traces the journey of Oedipus, an English military veteran, and Antigone, his headstrong daughter, as they travel through Greece.

Sophocles' Oedipus is both father and brother to Antigone by virtue of his misguided marriage to his mother. The fluctuating nature of that dual relationship reverberates in the dynamic between father and daughter in the screenplay, and through their words and behavior, the contemporary Antigone and Oedipus invoke the presence of the classical characters whose names they share.

In his late seventies and lame from an injury sustained while stationed as a young officer in Greece, Oedipus is dogged by guilt surrounding the death of his first wife, a Greek woman who was the mother of his four children. As his infirmity and senility increase, he feels compelled to return to Thebes, his late wife's home. His family tries to dissuade Oedipus from pursuing his quest, which they take to be nothing more than the nostalgic yearnings of a man in his dotage. But when he threatens to go alone, Antigone is nominated to accompany him.

An independent artist in her mid-twenties, Antigone has no job and rejects all of the values her father has lived by. But a mix of guilt, compassion and the hope of a free holiday prompt her to go ahead with the trip. So begins the story, with all the complications and frustrations such a journey together might create.

As Oedipus encounters characters along the route who shed light on his uncomfortable past, Antigone begins to understand her father through his fragmented recollections, and the nature of their relationship shifts. By the time the old man accidentally chokes in a taverna in Colonus, he has been redeemed by his journey. Although Antigone must come to terms with the loss of her father, the fact of their shared experience resolves her conflicting emotions and offers a unique perspective on the trajectory of her classical counterpart.

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