The article discusses the theoretical and generic problems of defining classical and modern tragedy vis à vis contemporary re-adaptations of Greek tragedy. It argues in favour of combining studies in reception history with the aesthetics of genre, and it does so through a re-examination of Fugard, Kani, and Ntshona’s re-adaptation of Sophocles’s Antigone in their famous anti-apartheid play, The Island (1973). Through the analysis of this particular play and its relation to Sophoclean tragedy, the article seeks to explain why the modern aesthetics of theatricality, which has often been invested with a potential to liberate by modern dramatists and theorists, has always been difficult to reconcile with tragic drama; more specifically it thus argues that the conflict of tragedy and play, role and player, action and play, which is crucial to the performance of The Island, has a more general relevance.


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pp. 1-18
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