Second Studio makes theatre department history with “Antigone”

From Feb. 16 to Feb. 18, Southern Utah University’s student-run theatre company ran their first show of the spring semester, “Antigone.” The production set a new bar for Second Studio shows by selling out every performance, something that does not typically happen within the company.

After a successful opening night that sold out just before the show began, the “Antigone” team was shocked when their second performance sold out even faster, already something atypical for Second Studio shows.

“We tend to do okay with our numbers. We tend to break even,” said Austyn Jane, Second Studio’s production manager. “This is very not normal.”

Nothing that happened the first two days could have prepared the team for Saturday, Feb. 18. That day, there was both a matinee and evening performance, both of which sold out before the house opened to let audiences into the theater.

“I’m expected to be at the school an hour before house opens to get everything settled and ready and talk to my house manager,” said Dean Rice, who worked at the box office during both opening and closing nights. “It was crazy to me that there were already a couple groups of people at school waiting for the box office to open.”

After the house opened and audience members began taking their seats, people continued to show up in hopes of buying a ticket but had to be turned away — until Derek Charles Livingston, the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s interim artistic director, showed up.

“I was like, ‘Oh, okay, well he can have my seat. I can move,’” said Jane, “‘How many more chairs do we need to get?’” Jane, along with her partner and sibling, sat in the Black Box’s vomitory, allowing Livingston to sit alongside an SUU professor and a student who had been turned away at the matinee earlier that day.

While nobody had expected “Antigone” to sell out to the extent that it did, the cast and crew behind it are very proud of the work they put into the show.

“It’s really like, where do we go from here?” said freshman Emily Wheeler. “How do you top what’s been so incredible?” “Antigone” was Wheeler’s first production at SUU.

Second Studio and everybody involved in “Antigone” hope that the show will start a new precedent for shows at the school, especially classical ones.

“I hope that people see that when you collaborate, what you end up making is a lot bigger and better than you could ever dream,” said “Antigone” director Hannah Luther.

Part of what contributed to the success of “Antigone” was Luther’s decision to adapt the source material by adding music composed and orchestrated by SUU student Caden Marshall and adding shadow imagery to tell the story in a unique way.

“It was honestly incredible to see how many people were willing to just stand in the doorway of the Black Box with the hope that we would let them in,” said Rice.

Article by: Tessa Cheshire
Photos courtesy of Second Studio