Washington-Lee High School The Trojan WomenBy Cappies • Nov 10th, 2008 • Category: Cappies
Thunder echoes across the stage. Light shines on the faces of distraught women, losing husbands and sons in a bloody war. Woman cry out in agony as their city is defeated at the hands of Greek soldiers. All the men are dead. All that is left are women and the late king’s grandson. This is the opening of Washington-Lee High School’s production of The Trojan Women by Euripides, adapted by Jean-Paul Sartre and translated by Ronald Duncan.
The Trojan Women was first performed in 415 BC in Athens and shown to an audience that was experiencing its own war: the Peloponnesian War. Euripides used historical events from his time period to create a play that highlighted the brutality of war.
Hecuba, the Queen of Troy (Anne Donnelly), portrayed both anger and sadness for her fallen country. She maintained her rage throughout the show and demonstrated that she still had dignity, despite the fact that Greek soldiers had defeated her city.
The Queen’s daughter, Cassandra (Morgan Sendek), made insane by the soldier’s brutality, never broke character. She used the stage effectively and her exit was memorable; her wails caused chills down one’s spine.
Andromeda (Rebecca Pratt), married to the Queen’s son Hector, was a powerful character, portraying an overpowering sense of anguish. The love her character felt for her son, Astyanax, was evident, and the bond between them felt strong.
The ensemble of Trojan women were all strong actors in their own rights, and they worked well together. Although there was a higher level of energy in the second act, the emotions they portrayed throughout the play felt real.
In a play dominated by women, Talthybios (Nico Zevallos), stood out, portraying emotions from anger to pity for the Trojan women. He was an intricate character, showing sympathy towards the Trojan women while also causing them harm. He also connected well with all of the performers. Nate Kresh as Menelaus also stood out. The emotions his character felt for Helen (Mary Eccles), his wife, were apparent, which added to the authenticity of his character. Jeffery Warren, playing Astyanax, the heir of Troy, gave a heart-wrenching performance, even without any spoken lines.
The Gods Poseidon and Athena, played by Ahmad and Shahenda Helmy, did an amazing job setting the opening scene. Ahmad did an especially effective performance concluding the play. His final monologue was strong and he connected well with the audience.
Despite some inconsistencies, the wardrobe was effective at giving the play a slightly modern feel. The music and sound effects also added to the show and did not overpower the performers.
In the final scene, the Trojan women were dragged off to meet their fate: becoming servants or concubines for the Greek aristocracy. The energy of the performers was high and the women were especially effective at demonstrating anguish as they struggled with the soldiers. The play was well-performed and enjoyable, while also being very depressing. Despite the play being two and a half millennia old, Washington-Lee High School’s performance made the play relevant to a modern audience and was a reminder of the despair that always follows war.
by Emma Pearce of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
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