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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Ancient play explores modern themes

With her city sacked and her family either dead or sold into slavery, it is hard to imagine life getting any worse for Hecuba (Lauren Hester ’09). “Women of Troy,” director Leda Hoffman’s ’09 interpretation of the Euripides play, chronicles four women dealing with crippling grief.
“Hecuba, the queen, has lost her sons and her husband, and watches as her daughters are taken away,” Hoffmann said. “Her daughter-in-law is sold into slavery and her grandson is killed. The world is crumbling around her and the chorus [her friends] are also sold off into slavery.”

The play’s events put an incredible burden on Hester performance, as she must communicate both Hecuba’s anguish and her constant push to persevere.

To help her, Hecuba has the support of her chorus (Anna Werner ’09, Valerie Suydam ’09, Cecilia Darby ’12). They aren’t the stereotypical, singing chorus of many Greek plays, but instead provide moral support for the beleaguered lead.

“If the chorus didn’t come in, Hecuba would probably lie on the stage the entire time,” said Anna Werner ’09. “Literally, we have to help her up. But we’re there and part of her grieving so that she can get up.”

Though Euripides wrote the play over 2,000 years ago, Hoffmann stressed the changes made to the play, which make it seem less distinctively Greek. The play is set in an industrial warehouse and the costumes have no connection to any particular era. Hoffman also limited the role of the gods and cut material in order to focus on the themes that still resonate today.

“The anti-war message struck me, as well as the way you watch these women persevere through the most intense misery anyone could ever go through,” Hoffmann said. “We’ve tried to bring out the messages about hope and fear and all the things that we’re still talking about.”

Women of Troy plays throughout the weekend in Flanagan Theatre, opening at 8 p.m. on Friday with additional performances on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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