Baltimore native and “Rent” actress Tracie Thoms will return to Maryland this month to perform in a theater production that fuses a 5th-century tragedy with modern day issues of race and injustice at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
Thoms will perform as Antigone in “Antigone in Ferguson,” a production by Theater of War Productions that will combine dramatic readings from Sophocles’ “Antigone;” a live choral music performed by Morgan State University Choir*; and community discussions at the arts center on Nov. 29.
The original play by Sophocles touches on personal conviction, justice, oppression and the use of power. Set in ancient Thebes, Greece during a civil war, a teenage girl named Antigone wants to bury her brother Polyneices, whose body lies lifeless in the streets thanks to King Creon, who wants to make a public example of Polyneices and demands that his body not be mourned nor buried. Antigone defies the king, burying her brother, and chaos ensues.
The contemporary piece “Antigone in Ferguson” was created in 2014 after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager in Ferguson, Mo., who was fatally shot by a police officer, and draws comparisons between the treatment of “Antigone” character Polyneices’ body and Brown’s body, which was left on the street for hours after his death.