The Capitol Attack on Jan. 6: McKenya Dilworth Smith, Known as “Antinika”

Reimagining “Antinika” – A Modern Adaptation of Antigone

Reimagining “Antinika” – A Modern Adaptation of Antigone

Jerry Davich | 219-853-2563

What if you were forever judged by your last action? What if it was a wrong decision? What if it took place on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol?

This thought-provoking premise lies at the heart of “Antinika,” a fresh take on the classic Greek tragedy, “Antigone,” by the fifth century playwright Sophocles. While the original story has stood the test of time, “Antinika” by playwright McKenya Dilworth Smith revisits these timeless themes with a modern twist.

Exploring Timeless Topics Through “Antinika”

In this adaptation, Dilworth Smith delves into the historical event that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. By drawing parallels between the ancient tale and the polarizing incident in our lifetime, she raises important questions about morality, loyalty, and authority. Dilworth Smith challenges us to consider the ramifications of being judged solely based on our last action.

“We need to come together and have courageous conversations to ask, ‘What’s going on here?’ We can’t keep pushing it back down and not talking about it openly, publicly, and with civility,” Dilworth Smith emphasizes. “If we continue to do that, we’re going to continue to see violent transitions of power. And then we will become a banana republic.”

An Ongoing Discussion

The story of “Antigone” itself revolves around two power-hungry brothers who ultimately meet their demise on the battlefield. The protagonist, Antigone, defies the law of the land to give her brother a proper burial, choosing her familial loyalty over societal rules.

In “Antinika,” Dilworth Smith explores which loyalty would hold more weight in the face of a loved one being labeled an insurrectionist after the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The playwright felt compelled to address this issue when she noticed a lack of open dialogue beyond political divisions and rhetoric.

“When I didn’t see the town halls, the gatherings, and the urgency to really talk this through, I got nervous,” Dilworth Smith admits. “It was the same sort of eerie silence that happened right before Trump became president.”

A Love Letter to America

Dilworth Smith clarifies that her adaptation is not an attack on any political figure, but rather a critique of America as a whole. She believes in the importance of criticizing the nation she loves in order to incite positive change and growth.

“Our fellow Americans who are now labeled insurrectionists felt like they were doing the right thing that day. They were convinced. Through destroying American property, they felt like they were preserving American tenets,” Dilworth Smith explains.

A Conversation Starter

After a sold-out performance of “Antinika,” audience members from diverse backgrounds gathered to discuss not only the play itself but also its relevance in our fractured nation. The need for open and civil conversations surrounding the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and their underlying causes became apparent.

“There has not been a great deal of candid yet civil discussion about the insurrection from the perspective of average Americans,” Dilworth Smith shares.

The Struggle for Honor

In Dilworth Smith’s present-day version of the story, the protagonist Antinika fights against the U.S. Veterans Affairs, government officials, and even the president to secure a proper burial for her brother at Arlington Cemetery, despite his involvement in the insurrection attack. Her brother, named Liel Paul, is found guilty, and his military service is overshadowed by his actions.

As the play progresses, the central question remains: what if you were judged solely based on your last action?

Antinika’s defiant act of digging her brother’s grave at the sacred cemetery echoes the civil disobedience and conflicting loyalties put forth by Sophocles centuries ago. Dilworth Smith’s intention in writing this adaptation is not to lecture but to express her love for America and the freedom to criticize it.

“Because I love it, I need to criticize it and have the freedom to do so, for everyone, even the insurrectionists,” Dilworth Smith declares.

Read More of this Story at – 2023-11-15 13:00:00

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