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“Theatre is still trying to catch up the mentality of binge-watching Netflix,” says Rachael Murray, one of the three founders (with Corey Cunningham and Jared Murray) of Naked Theatre Company, a troupe that wants you to see how the sausage is made. With everything available instantly, theatre can only preserve its mystique by pulling back the curtain as far as possible.
It’s a paradox that NTC embraces: The outfit posts videos of its rehearsals, and even commissioned a documentarian to create a video making-of that will be shown at the start of all performances of Bitch, a Play About Antigone — one of two Antigone-derived entries in this year’s Capital Fringe, the other one being Wandering Theatre Company’s version of Jean Anouilh’s Anitgone that was first produced under the watchful eyes of Nazi censors in occupied Paris 70 years ago.
“I think they’re apples and oranges,” Murray says reasonably.
As written by Andy Boyd, a Harvard University-educated emerging playwright, Bitch transposes Sophocles‘ 2400-year-old tragedy to a Thebes that will strongly resemble Washington, DC in the Edward Snowden era, Murray promises. “It’s dirty and political,” she says. “It’s about transparency in government and how we perceive politicians and the role the media plays in that.”
Bitch is NTC’s second Fringe show, after last year’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), the 1921 Karel Capek epic credited with coining the word robot. It was a canny choice for a company that makes embracing the possibilities of new technology part of its raison. Bitch has a technological element, too, says Murray. “It’s got a lot of gadgetry and hacking in it.”
Bitch: A Play About Antigone opens at Fort Fringe’s Redrum space tonight at 8:15 p.m. Tickets and a complete schedule of performances are available here.