“Trojan Women” was adapted from a translation of Euripides’s play by director Lisa Hall-Hagen. The play occurs after the Trojan war, which began when their prince kidnapped Queen Helen of Greece. After Troy falls at the hands of the Greek soldiers, the only citizens left are women. Held captive in a tent and awaiting their fate, the women look to their former queen, Hecuba, who is herself slowly losing hope.
The action of the play takes place entirely in the tent which the women are held prisoner in. The lighting within the tapestry walls is uniquely designed, and at times is just as riveting as the action. The centerpiece, however, is the structure in the middle of the stage. What appears to be the remnants of a war ship are actually the ribcage of the infamous Trojan Horse. The women use this skeleton as a sort of surreal jungle-gym, scaling it with ease. This element leads seamlessly into the next movement. While never quite dancing, beautiful movement adds depth and emotion to the words. When the actresses all move or react as one, you can really sense how important this found family is to this group, as the last remnants of their former lives.
Hall-Hagen’s translation does away with a lot of the stuffy speeches you would expect to find in a Greek tragedy and instead focuses on the “chorus,” or the group of women commenting on the action around them. While a chorus is normally of one mind and opinion, each member of this group has a distinct voice. This play pulled the script back from the heady language and allowed the audience to see into the minds of the individual women. The women were all affected by the tragedy of war which added more depth to the show.
Angie Alley Andrus leads the women as Queen Hecuba. As she tries to hold on to her composure, her city and family are torn apart. Andrus has all the dignity of a queen while still giving the audience glimpses of the cracking facade. Kiersten Zundel gives a heart wrenching performance as the queen’s daughter-in-law Andromache, whose son’s fate is also left up to the Greeks. Her sincerity is contrasted to great effect by Emma Belnap’s Helen, who we are never quite confident in believing. Her stage time is brief, but she leaves a lasting impression on the women of Troy, as well as the audience.
“Trojan Women” is a heart breaking and touching performance that will leave a lasting impression.