Field Trip! Wilma Theater, Philadelphia

Staying in my dorm all day is lousy, so I try to take myself on field trips around the city as something to do. Solo trips can be fun!

The school was kind enough to pay for a ticket to see Antigone at the Wilma Theater in Center City, Philadelphia. It’s kind of notorious for being an “artsy” theater, which, yeah. I’d agree with that. However, I’m into that kind of thing. My theater director in high school spent a lot of time dragging us around Boston to see shows, and we certainly saw some weird ones (Shockheaded Peter, anyone?)

The Wilma is beautiful. The facade itself harkens back to the past thirty years and is lovely, but I do wish the lobby was a bit bigger. Especially because they didn’t start seating until nearly 8, when the show was set to begin (they also specified no late seating, meaning most people were well early and had to stand around waiting). In the theater itself (holds 300) there’s not a bad seat in the house, and the light and sound systems are superb.

If you’ve never seen or read a more conventional version of Antigone, you probably would have no idea what was happening. In fact, the translation was so different– the performance is in both English and Greek– I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening and I read the play two days before I saw it. At times it certainly tries too hard to be unique and some very odd artistic choices are made. Spoilers, there’s a lot of spitting. While most people I talked to didn’t understand this choice at all, I (think?) I did. It’s a physical play, tackling the innately physical nature of suffering.

I could be making this all up, but we try to make sense out of what we see.

I was intrigued by the company, though. Overall, the performances were strong (even if Antigone suffered from Constantly Yelling Syndrome). Even better, the Wilma currently has a bold initiative to make theater affordable, meaning you can get tickets for $25 (general public) or $10 (students and theater professionals).

In conclusion: the Wilma is worth a visit even if to just appreciate the theater itself. It’s cheap as hell to see a play, and even if it’s weird and you don’t like, chances are a night out on the town will be fun anyways. To see the full catalog of shows, tickets, etc., visit the Wilma’s website.

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