We do expect to see the action. And Progeny is doubly frustrating because its insistent narrative isn't necessary to our understanding; Taubman has the evident skills to write characters and dialogue that bring a story to life before our eyes and ears. Anne is so fully realized that her landscape of literary language becomes its own reality. But excessively broadly shaped minor characters like the declaiming fundamentalist minister coexist uncomfortably with those who seem more real, like Anne's sister Sam, sensitively portrayed by Nicole Ivy Greenbaum.
The playwright has built effective parallels to the story and themes of Antigone into his play. This turned out to have the interesting effect of bettering my impression of Progeny, which is performed first, as I watched the performance of Antigone, which follows on the same evening with the same company of actors.
While Ms. Warren's magnetic performance is the center of Progeny, a trio of emotional foci power this Antigone. In classic Greek drama, actors played multiple roles, and while many modern productions don't adhere to this tradition, here three actors play all the major parts. In addition to her stalwart and tragic Antigone, Ms. Denison gives us a delightfully (and literally) twisted prophet Teiresias, and a thoughtful Messenger, inhabiting each role forcefully and with conviction.
A bubbly Brandon Tyler Harris brings ferociously funny hyperactivity to the Guard, who brings news of Antigone's disloyalty to Creon and then drags her in for punishment. His Haemon, Cleon's son and Antigone's love, is warm and sympathetic. On the other hand, excessively soft diction mars his otherwise affecting portrayals of the other two female characters, especially Antigone's loving but ineffectual sister Ismene, making it hard to hear some of the lines. Is the Connelly Theater larger than he expected? It is quite capacious for an Off Off Broadway space, which makes for a nicely non-claustrophobic audience experience. Or was this, perhaps, a deliberate choice so as to contrast Ismene with her rebellious, forthright, and thus "unfeminine" sister?