In The Trojan Women, the victory of rescuing a single human being takes the demise of an immaculate city.
Staged by TheatreUSF, The Trojan Women is a tragic mythological tale detailing a brief moment in Greek history.
The story for the play was taken from the massacre between Athens and the tiny island Melos in 416 B.C. Written by Euripides, the play exhibits the cruelties of war and the egotistical individuals, such as King Menelaus, who are responsible for them.
The play is set at the end of the Trojan War. Portions of Troy are in flames, and all Trojan men are dead. The survivors of Troy, the women and children, are camping outside the city gates, frightened, as they wait to be shipped into slavery by the Greeks.
The suffering of the Trojan women is characterized by the chorus. Throughout the play, they remain outside the city gates of Troy determining their future. They’re constantly pouring out their emotions as if they were regurgitating an unsettled meal. Their feelings are intense and interrelated. They weep because Troy is destroyed and their husbands and fathers are dead. They’re angry at the Greeks for killing their men, destroying their city and for separating and enslaving them for eternity. They also fear the Greek soldiers and the land to which they’ll be sent.
Hecuba (Darlene Horne), the queen of Troy, has a more complex level of suffering in comparison to the other women. “Before the opening of the show, Hecuba’s family and country are dead. She is dealing with multiple problems and must hold it together because she’s the leader,” Horne said.
Helen’s (Nikki Flinn) sudden departure with Paris is the cause of the conflict between Troy and Sparta.
“Paris, this attractive foreigner, visited Helen, and she thought it would be something new and exciting,” Flinn said. “I thought it was ridiculous to fight for ten years just to win Helen back.”
Once Helen is captured, Menelaus (Billy Kieffer) intends to retrieve her, leave Troy burning and enslave the Trojan women. Hecuba immediately interferes and reminds Menelaus that Helen too caused the war. Helen appeals her case, begs for her life and blames her adultery on Paris at the same time. Menelaus realizes this and threatens to kill Helen himself.
Fanni Green, USF theater professor and director of The Trojan Women, says the Pentagon and Ground Zero became a modern day Troy for some people in terms of the devastation and the lives that lay in the rubble.
“The play deposited lament and terror in women because women are the bearers of life,” Green said. “It gave women a chance to howl and to let out something very deep inside of them that is not encouraged in society.”
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