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Burial at Thebes

Directed by Sarah Wansley

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@ Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre

November 12 - 22


About the Play

About the Playwright

Sophocles' play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns that her brothers have killed each other, having been forced onto opposing sides of the battle. When Creon, king of Thebes, grants burial of one but not the "treacherous" other, Antigone defies his order, believing it her duty to bury all of her close kin. In this outstanding new translation, commissioned by Ireland's renowned Abbey Theatre to commemorate its centenary, Seamus Heaney exposes the darkness and the humanity in Sophocles' masterpiece.


Born in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on April 13, 1939, Seamus Heaney published his first poetry book in 1966, Death of a Naturalist, creating vivid portraits of rural life. Later work looked at his homeland's civil war, and he won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature for his globally acclaimed oeuvre, with its focus on love, nature and memory.

About the Director

Sarah Wansley is a third year director at UCSD. At UCSD, Sarah has directed Drums in the Night by Bertolt Brecht, The Panda Play by Kristin Idaszak, Ex Machina by David Jacobi (also at FringeNYC) and Cornerstone by David Jacobi as part of La Jolla Playhouse’s WoW Festival. New York directing credits include Woyzeck (Access Theater, also translated), Follow Me Down (The Flea Theater), Here Comes Tomorrow (Youngblood / EST), #serials@theflea (The Flea Theater), and What the Future Awaits (McCarter Theatre Center Youth Ink Festival). Sarah graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University and was a member of the 2011 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab.

Director's Statement

The safety of our state depends on it. In the wake of a domestic terror attack, Creon becomes king, and in the name national security, forbids the burial of the insurgents, including his nephew Polyneices. His niece Antigone publically defies Creon’s edict and chooses to bury her brother, come what may. Set in a mythic land halfway between ancient Thebes and Washington D.C., this contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone asks which is more important, the laws of man or the laws of the gods? In a post 9-11 world of drone strikes, the threat of chemical warfare, and the constant buzz of the media, what impossible moral decisions do we ask our leaders to make every day? And when faced the choice between what is right and what is legal, between our country and our family, between taking a stand finding a compromise, what would we do?

Following her production of Drums in the Night, which re-imagined Brecht’s post WWI homecoming drama as the nightmare of a US soldier coming home from Iraq, Sarah Wansley’s thesis production of Seamus Heaney’s Burial at Thebes continues her passion for re-inventing classic plays through a contemporary lens. Both pieces focus on the intersection of the political and the personal and investigate American culture in a highly theatrical form. For Burial at Thebes, Sarah is also exploring how live music and digital media design can capture the intensely theatrical way Sophocles’ plays were originally performed.


The Cast

The Creative Team

Antigone - Zakiya Markland
Ismene - N'Jameh Camara
Creon - Toby Onwumere
Tiresias - Tesiana Elie
Haemon - MacGregor Arney
Guard/Messenger - Walker Hare
Eurydice - Emily Shain
Producer - Zora Howard
Co-Host - Mary Glen Frederick
Host - Caroline Siewert
Reporter - Sean Mcintyre
Blogger - Katherine Ko
Field Reporter - Terrance White
Press Secretary - Rosie Byrne
Polyneices - Jordan Fergusen
Creon’s Guard - Frankie Gomez
Camera Person 1 - Annetta Di Meola
Camera Person 2 - Bethany Baderdeen
Camera Person 3 - Gina Cioffi
Intern - Molly Smith
Photographer - Janessa Mosqueda
Director - Sarah Wansley
Original Music and Songs - Tommy Crawford
Asst. Director - Will Detlefsen
Scenic Designer - Lily Bartenstein
Asst. Scenic Designer - Justin Humphres
Costume Designer - Janet O’Neill
Asst. Costume Designer - Anna Gebarski
Lighting Designer - Bo Tindell
Asst. Lighting Designer - Alexandra Miller-Long
Sound Designer - Andrew Vargas
Asst. Sound Designer - Grady Kestler
Projection Designer - Ryan Brady
Asst. Projection Designer - Gwikyoung Ko
Vocal Coach - Ursula Meyer
Fight Choreographer - Charlie Oates
Production Stage Mgr. - Sarah E. Dion
Asst. Stage Managers - Mandy Nussbaum
Jessie Medofer



Wed,Nov. 127:00pm PREVIEW
Fri,Nov. 147:30pm 
Sat,Nov. 152:00pm MATINEE
Sat,Nov. 157:30pm 
Thu,Nov. 207:30pm 
Fri,Nov. 217:30pm 
Sat,Nov. 227:30pm CLOSING

Located at: Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre

Parking Passes Required: Monday through Friday. Weeknight passes are $2 per vehicle from the vending machines located in the UC San Diego Theatre District/La Jolla Playhouse parking lots and entry display case. Please remember your parking space number. You will need it to purchase your parking pass.

Note: Machines take all major credit cards except Discover and when paying with cash you must use exact change, NO CHANGE GIVEN.

Parking Passes Not Required: Saturdays and Sundays

Cars without permits are subject to ticketing by UCSD Campus Police. The Theatre & Dance Department does not have the authority to waive and cannot pay parking tickets.



Advance tickets for this production are available Monday-Friday, noon to 6 pm by calling the Box Office at 858.534.4574 or in person at the Theatre District’s Central Box Office at the Sheila & Hughes Potiker Theatre. 

At-the-Door tickets, if available, can be purchased one hour before show time at the performing theatre’s box office at Mandell Weiss Theatre.

General Admission: $20
UCSD Faculty/Staff/Alumni Association,
and Seniors (over 62): $15
UCSD Students/UCSD Alumni Association (with ID): $10

Reserve Tickets

Buy Tickets Online!  

(To Buy tickets by phone or by mail, click HERE.)

Of Interest:

TheatreForum - An international theatre journal since 1992
La Jolla Playhouse - UCSD is home to this Tony Award winning theatre
UC San Diego Home Page - UC San Diego's Main Web Site
9500 Gilman Drive MC0344
La Jolla, CA 92093
Tel: (858) 534-3791