Exploring Refusal in Film and Theater
A deeply interdisciplinary scholar, 2017 Flexner Lecturer Bonnie Honig will draw upon film as well as literature in her analysis of refusal as a strategy of dissent and potential mode of politics.
The Flexner Lectures Program committee will sponsor a mini-series of films to invite the Bryn Mawr community as a whole to think about the issues that are important to Professor Honig’s work and to this year’s Flexner Lectures in particular.
All films will be screened in Old Library 110 on the Bryn Mawr campus, beginning at 7 p.m., and will be introduced by current Film Studies students
- Wednesday, Oct. 25: A Question of Silence (1982; director Marleen Gorris)
- Wednesday, Nov. 1: Hunger (2008; director Steve McQueen)
- Wednesday, Nov. 8: Modern Times (1936; director, Charlie Chaplin)
In conjunction with this year’s Mary Flexner lectures, the BiCollege Theater Program of Bryn Mawr and Haverford is producing a new staging of Seonjae Kim’s Riot Antigone, the original version of which was seen at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York City. A musical version of Sophocles' classic tragedy, Riot Antigone is influenced by the punk rock, DIY, feminist political ethos and music of the '90s Riot Grrrl movement.
Kim, a New York-based theater artist who is originally from Seoul, South Korea, has recently been attracting much attention and winning acclaim in the theater world. She was awarded both the 2016 Van Lier Fellowship for Directing from the Asian American Arts Alliance and the 2016 Mike Ockrent Fellowship from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. But this semester, she’s settled in as an adjunct faculty member and director with the Theater Program and its students, who are incredibly excited to be working with her to restage Riot Antigone. Of this project, Kim says, "After its debut in New York City, I cannot imagine a more meaningful next step for the piece than to be in the hands of the brilliant students of Bryn Mawr and Haverford."
Kim says, "I conceived [Riot Antigone] during my my own college years at Northwestern. …I discovered the Riot Grrrls in high school through the magic of the internet. They were before my time, but something about their anger, their power, their determination, their unapologetic commitment to expression made me feel less alone. In college, I met Sophocles' Antigone in my theater classes. I encountered her as an actor, a playwright, and a director. I was fascinated by her power and frustrated by her stubbornness. I craved to understand how a young woman could go from grief to action, from trauma to determination. As I struggled to make sense of the play, I started hearing the power chords and angry howls of the 90s' feminist, DIY rock movement as the soundtrack to it. Those bands, like characters in Greek tragedy, had clear agendas: They sang about rape, abortion, sexism, mental illness, eating disorders, and all the other issues that society so often belittles as ‘women’s problems,’ with unapologetic rawness. The music of Riot Antigone is both homage to that movement and anthems for our politically turbulent times."
At the center of Riot Antigone is the rock band and the Chorus Leader, who take the place of the traditional Greek chorus of elders. The experience of exploring the depth and contemporary relevance of this ancient play as actors and of forming a feminist punk rock band into the bargain has been exhilarating for the students, who are both literally and metaphorically finding and freeing their voices through this process. Cat Slanksi, an actor and first-year Bryn Mawr student, says, "Riot Antigone allows us, as actors, to tap into the millennia-long frustration of other girls similarly desperate to own their right to exist wholly and loudly as they are. In many ways, Sophocles' Antigone is just another tale about an old white man, but Riot Antigone is about a girl who refuses to be a prop in someone else’s story, refuses to be the plaything of fate or prophesy, and stubbornly writes her own tale, not to frame herself as some perfect hero but rather to give up all that she has to right that which is wrong and unjust."
Riot Antigone Performance Schedule
All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the Hepburn Teaching Theater, Goodhart Hall, on Bryn Mawr's campus. Tickets may be reserved online at or by calling the Office for the Arts at 610-526-5210.
- Friday, Nov. 10
- Saturday, Nov. 11
- Sunday, Nov. 12
- Thursday, Nov. 16
- Friday, Nov. 17
- Saturday, Nov. 18