In 2015 Will Aitken journeyed to Luxembourg for the rehearsals and premiere of Anne Carson’s translation of Sophokles’ 5th-century BCE tragedy Antigone, starring Juliette Binoche and directed by theatrical sensation Ivo van Hove. In watching the play, he became awestruck with the plight of the young woman at the centre of the action. “Look at what these men are doing to me,” Antigone cries, expressing the predicament of the dispossessed throughout time. Transfixed by the strange and uncanny power of the play, he finds himself haunted by its protagonist, finally resulting in a suicidal breakdown. With a backstage view of the action, Aitken illuminates the creative process of Carson, Binoche, and Van Hove and offers a rare glimpse into collaborative genius in action. He also investigates the response to the play by Hegel, Virginia Woolf, Judith Butler, and others, who too, were moved by its timeless protest against injustice.
About the author
WILL AITKEN has written three novels — Realia, A Visit Home, and Terre Haute — and the nonfiction books Death in Venice: A Queer Film Classic and Antigone Undone: Juliette Binoche, Anne Carson, Ivo van Hove, and the Art of Resistance, which was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-Fiction. He lives in Montreal.