Campus News

The Trojan Women

Euripides’ The Trojan Women, first performed more than 2,500 years ago, is one of the most powerful plays ever written about the terrible human cost of war. University Theatre’s studio series production of this play, in a modern adaptation by John Barton, will open March 21 at 8 p.m. in Seney-Stoval ­Chapel. It will run March 22–24 at 8 p.m. and March 25 at 2:30 p.m.

Regular admission is $8; admission for students and senior citizens with ID is $6. Tickets may be purchased at the University Theatre box office located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building. The box office is open noon–5 p.m. weekdays. Tickets also may be purchased at Schoolkids Records, 264 E. Clayton St., or one hour prior to show time. Reservations may be made in advance by calling (706) 542-2838.

Euripides first presented The Trojan Women in 415 B.C. at the great Athenian Dionysian Festival, soon after Athens had invaded the city-state of Melos, killing all the men and enslaving the women.

This play, focusing on the perspective of women enslaved by the Greeks after the mythical Trojan War, spoke forcefully to the Athenians’ own situation. In the same way, the UGA production’s “ritual lamentations over the loss and destruction caused by war draws strong parallels with the present day situations in Iraq and the nearly 50 other countries presently experiencing some kind of wartime situation,” said director George Contini, an assistant professor in theatre and film studies.

Contini is approaching the text with the intent of creating a modern-day ritual.

“I really wanted to get back to the essence of the storytelling and also re-examine the sacred ritual embodied in this epic,” he said.

For example, at the start of each rehearsal, and through the actual performances, all the cast members “sacrifice” one of their own possessions to the production. The cast incorporates each of these items into the production as props.

The timing could not be more perfect, Contini added, because the department will be presenting the play over the spring equinox, the time of year when the original productions would have been presented during the Dionysian Festival.

Barton’s adaptation makes the play fully accessible to modern audiences by filling in aspects of the myth that would have been familiar to the original audience. In particular, Barton folds in parts of Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis, which dramatizes the events leading up to The Trojan Women. These plays, taken together, do not merely expose the cruelties of war, but also the plight of women in Ancient Greek society.