USC president returns to classroom for Antigone lecture

The president spoke passionately to MFA students about the classic Greek tragedy, one of his favorites

President Nikias discusses

USC President C. L. Max Nikias discusses the Greek tragedy Antigone, one of his favorites, with a group of MFA students. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

In a special lecture Friday afternoon, President C. L. Max Nikias spoke to USC School of Dramatic Arts’ MFA students about Sophocles’ renowned tragedy, Antigone.

Nikias, who considers Antigone to be the greatest among the surviving tragedies of antiquity, spoke passionately about the impact the play had when it was first staged in Athens in 442 BC. In a male dominated society, Sophocles’ young, principled female protagonist stood up to authority, shocking audiences and reminding them of a number of themes central to their own budding democracy, including separation of church and state and freedom of expression.

MFA actors at the USC School of Dramatic Arts listen to President C. L. Max Nikias.

MFA actors at the USC School of Dramatic Arts listen to President C. L. Max Nikias. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Antigone X, an adaptation of the original written by USC Associate Professor Paula Cizmar, will be featured in the School of Dramatic Arts’ 2016-17 season, presented as part of the MFA Acting Repertory in February.

Cizmar’s adaption catapults Thebes into a modern setting, surrounded by refugee camps and plagued by police violence, terrorists and demagoguery. Anita Dashiell-Sparks, also an associate professor with the USC School of Dramatic Arts, will direct. Antigone X opens Feb. 11 at the Scene Dock Theatre.