Posts Tagged Hecuba

The Trojan Women

The Trojan Women trojanwomen
Emmanuel Theatre Company

Space 1; £5 (£3.50) / 0845 508 8316
theSpaces on the Mile, Edinburgh
80 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TH

This intense, gripping reworking of Euripides’ classic text brings home the true horrors of war for the women left behind to cope with an atmosphere of bitterness, reprisal and recrimination. It has been updated with images of contemporary conflicts raging today – and God knows, there are plenty of them going on, from Gaza to Syria to the Congo.

All the horrific images are here; the child ripped from its mother’s arms by smirking soldiers to be dashed to death, the rape and pillage of the wives and daughters of fallen enemies, the deceitfulness and self-delusion of the conquering soldiers and politicians and the loss of innocence of young people whose trivial everyday lives have been turned upside down when apparent victory turned overnight into defeat and bloody retribution.

This is not an easy play to watch, but as we contemplate the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War of 1914-1918 and the growing readiness of our political leaders in Britain and ‘the international community’ to resort so easily to war, it is a timely reminder of the real human cost of such conflicts.

**** four stars



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Trojan Women


Trojan Women

The Lancaster Offshoots

The Space at Symposium Hall, Venue 43

Booking Office: 0845 557 7475

Afficianados of Greek Tragedy are spoiled for choice this year as there are three productions of Trojan Women on offer at Fringe 2012.

Trojan Women is a horrifying story of the savagery of war and its effect on four captive women, survivors of the defeated side, who remain in captivity while their Greek captors decide their fate. Troy has been destroyed and their menfolk are all dead.

Hecuba, the ousted queen of Troy, tries in vain to get her two daughters, Andromache and Cassandra, to stick together with Helen (whose carrying off to Troy precipitated the Trojan war) as they wait to hear what their Greek captors plan to do with them.  In the background, the quarrelling gods, Athena and Poseidon make playthings of their lives.

Andromache is consumed by hatred of Helen whom she blames for all the troubles that have been heaped on her. Apart from Hecuba, no-one comes out of this Greek tragedy well. The gods are as petty and self-seeking as the ‘lesser men of greater power’ who decide to throw Andromache’s baby son from a high tower unto rocks in case he might grow up to rebuild Troy.

At first the production under review didn’t seem right.  How can you justify a musical version of Euripides’ classic tale of arbitrary, bickering gods and the hapless victims of war? Doesn’t it trivialise the story?  Well, no. It sounds unlikely but this retelling of the ancient story, by a bunch of travelling musicians, works very well. In fact it serves to intensify its impact.  The cast work well together. This reviewer was struck by the intensity of the actress who brings a dreamy quality to her role as Cassandra, who is cursed by the gods with the ability to see the future with the added twist that nobody will believe her.

**** Four Stars

David Kerr

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