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A groundbreaking project by and for nurses, The Nurse Antigone presents dramatic readings of Sophocles’ Antigone—featuring professional actors and a chorus of frontline nurses—to help frame powerful, guided discussions about the past, present, and future of nursing. Antigone, an ancient play about a young woman who puts everything on the line to do what she believes is right, dramatizes the heavy cost of silencing and marginalizing caregivers, especially during times of crisis. By performing Sophocles’ play for diverse audiences, including nurses as well as concerned citizens, The Nurse Antigone aims to generate compassion, awareness, connection, and much-needed healing, while celebrating and advocating for nurses at this critical juncture in the history of their profession.
Featuring performances by Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black), Ato Blankson-Wood (When They See Us), David Strathairn (Nomadland), Adepero Oduye (12 Years a Slave), Anthony Edwards (Top Gun), New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Craig Manbauman (Nurse, Poet, U.S. Air Force Veteran), Charlaine Lasse (BSN, RN, RNC-NIC, Vascular Access Team, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center), and Sandy Cayo (Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Nursing).
Sophocles’ Antigone is an ancient play about a teenage girl who wishes to bury her brother, Polyneices, who recently died in a brutal civil war. Creon, the new, untested king, has ruled that Polyneices’ body must remain above the earth, and that anyone who breaks this law will be put to death. Antigone openly and intentionally defies his edict, covering her brother’s body with dirt and publicly declaring her allegiance to a higher law, one that transcends that of the state—the law of love. Creon is then forced, by his own political rhetoric, and the by fragile social order that he has barely begun to establish since the civil war, to make an example of his niece, by sentencing her to death. In the process of following through with his own decree, Creon loses everything. At its core, Antigone is a play about what happens when personal conviction and state law clash, raising the question: When everyone is right (or feels justified), how do we avert the violence that will inevitably take place?