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The Scarlet & Black

Student produced “Trojan Women” to open at the Grinnell Area Arts Center

Photo by Sarah Ruiz.
Photo by Sarah Ruiz.
Photo by Sarah Ruiz.

Julia Echikson

This weekend, a fully student run production of the Greek tragedy “Trojan Women,” will open in the Loft Theater in the Grinnell Arts Center downtown. The production is part of the Grinnell Theatre Department’s Open Space program that allows students to propose and put on productions.

Scout Slava-Ross ’17 is the leading force behind the production; not only is she directing the play, she also revised translation of Euripides’ script to make it more “powerful” and “less archaic.” Slava-Ross chose to produce this play because it features women with eight of the 11 roles.

“[The play] does deal predominantly with the issues of these women and particularly how women are treated in war and post war,” she said.

Written by Greek Euripides and first produced in 415 B.C., the play is set after the Trojan War and the sacking of Troy. It revolves around four surviving women Hecuba, Helen of Troy and Cassandra. The women await their fate and deal with their new somber – and dangerous — reality.

Slava-Ross said that the focus on female roles is new at Grinnell.

“With Shakespeare and Sir Bernard Shaw, is that most of characters are men and are often very male-centric plays,” she said. “It has always been frustrating when you get your audition turnout and you have much more women than men auditioning, but more men end up being cast.”

As the play is a Greek tragedy, spectators should anticipate a serious and bleak theatrical experience.

“People shouldn’t expect a light hearted comedy,” Slava-Ross said.

Because the play is being held in The Loft — a black box theater, the audience will enjoy an intimate experience.

“It’s a very simplistic set,” Slava-Ross said. “It’s entirely composed of painted wooden blocks and white fabric.”

Ultimately, the play aims to provide a new take on a story that has gained popularity in the 21st century with the Hollywood movie “Troy” and its mythical wooden horse.

“It turns what they [the general public] know about the Trojan War and turns it around and it’s on their head,” says Mithila Iyer ’19, who plays Cassandra. “We bring an important feminist perspective.”

Photo by Sarah Ruiz.
Photo by Sarah Ruiz.
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