The complicated words, tragic stories and antiquated acting techniques of ancient theater have little appeal to many people. Although theater of ancient societies is truly the ancestor of modern movies, like “Gangster Squad”, audiences have a difficult time connecting with “fossil” dramas.
Luckily, archaic scripts are occasionally adapted into shorter plays with current diction and, sometimes, a twist on the original story. One such tale, “The Trojan Women” was written in 415 B.C. by Euphradies, and was adapted into a futuristic drama by Ellen McLaughlin.
NSU will open its production of “The Trojan Women” on Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theater of the Don Taft University Center.
The original story is the third book in a trilogy, illustrating the Trojan War between Troy and the Greek army. Troy loses the war, all the men are killed, and widows and children are left to suffer the wrath of the Greeks. “The Trojan Women” depicts the day after the war and focuses on the futures of Troy’s widows.
Oddly enough, Euphraides was Greek. Most critics speculate that he portrayed the Greek army as barbaric because he did not agree with the violence of the Trojan War.
Liz Harbuagh, an NSU alumna who is directing the school’s upcoming production, said, “The show is highly emotionally intense, as are most Greek tragedies, so audiences should expect to be moved. There is some violence, but it takes place offstage.”
The themes of death and war are especially prevalent in the tragedy, as they are in most Greek dramas. However, women stand out at the center of the story, which is uncommon for ancient works. Powerful women — such as Hecuba, Queen of Troy — question their faith in the Gods. The strong connection between Troy and its dependence on men and Gods is challenged as the desperate women and children hope they will be spared.
The production is the latest in the “Premier Series” of the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Performing and Visual Arts.
“There are 15 actors, all undergraduate students,” said Harbuagh. “They were cast in November and have been in rehearsal since the beginning of January. We’ve done movement work, improv games, and some Viewpoints-inspired exercises to prepare for the production. Viewpoints is a particular style that theatre artists use to help them create movement and emotion in rehearsal and production.”
The show is open to the public, though tickets are required for admission. Call the box office at 954-262-8179. Based on ticket availability each day, students may be admitted for free, with their NSU ID. Arrive at the theatre early for the latest ticket availability.