An intense and heartfelt play of human suffering and the futility of war, “Women of Troy” is Euripides’ Greek Tragedy modernised. The cast and crew deserve to be commended for not only a powerful and emotionally charged performance, but for succeeding in making an ancient tragedy feel timeless.
Set in the bleak remains of a war-torn Troy, the play focuses on the plight of the city’s tormented women as they await their fate and impending slavery. Page Phillip Harrington’s direction ensures that there is not a moment of respite as the audience are faced with a turbulent string of feelings; from despair and grief intercepted by fleeting moments of hope, the cast and crew create emotionally chaotic scenes which capture and sustain the audience’s attention.
Page Phillip Harrington’s direction ensures that there is not a moment of respite as the audience are faced with a turbulent string of feelings
Needless to say, Women of Troy casts a talented ensemble of actors; the actresses who play the Trojan women succeed both collectively and individually. The lead characters are able to demonstrate the depth and scope of each persona, with the chorus allowing an added focus on relationships and engendering a sense of kinship and community spirit as they deal with the trials and tribulations of the aftermath of such a devastating conflict. There is definitely a sense of intimacy between the women which is played off well against the epic backdrop of war and tragedy.
There is definitely a sense of intimacy between the women which is played off well against the epic backdrop of war and tragedy
Genevieve Rose Cunnell plays Hecuba, the lead and queen; she laments the death of her husband, King Priam of Troy and comes to terms with the hopeless destiny of her daughters. Jessica Lundholm plays Adromache, also widowed by the war and facing the impending murder of her child. Both Genevieve and Jessica offer an impassioned and moving performance which illuminates the harsh realities of combat as it makes massacres of men and tears at the seams of the family unit. Lara Cowler’s performance of Cassadra and Rachel Angeli’s Helen of Troy were equally impressive, effectively portraying both the “half-crazed” victim and the dangerous but alluring agent of war. Sam Peake and Sam Greenwood also did not fail to deliver in their charismatic and energetic portrayals of Talthybius and Menelaus.
Both Genevieve and Jessica offer an impassioned and moving performance
The acting was interspersed with the occasional moment of song and dance which was not only pleasant and engaging but also offered momentary relief from the fury and drama of the plot. Having said that, the gentle harmonies also acted to intensify emotion and generate a sense of empathy and compassion within the audience as the women confronted their bitter fate.
The gentle harmonies also acted to intensify emotion and generate a sense of empathy and compassion within the audience as the women confronted their bitter fate
An obvious effort has also been made to craft a play not just of action and emotion, but of aesthetics too. Use of props was imaginative and added to the drama; the delicate flower garland, for example, became the object of anger and violence. Costume was also significant; the production favours shirts, blazers and dresses over Euripides traditionally Grecian toga. This places Women of Troy in a very current setting, creating the effect that the themes and morals of the play are as applicable to the modern world as they are to ancient Greece.
The Nottingham New Theatre’s production of Don Taylor’s “Women of Troy” was engaging and thought-provoking; not only was every aspect of the play completed to a high standard, the modern take on an ancient tragedy also offered an element of social commentary, bringing to light vital issues surrounding the harmful and devastating effects of war; the play stands the test of time, showing ultimately that the brutalities of conflict are as heart-wrenching and pressing an issue now as they were when Euripides first staged his play 2,500 years ago.
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