Archway Theatre Company’s unique immersive theater style returns to Woodbury in April with a post-modern telling of the Euripides classic, “Trojan Women,” as an examination of the devastation of a war-torn country. Performances are in the Ahmanson Main Space at 8:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays, April 5 through April 20. Tickets are free for students, faculty and staff of Woodbury and $28 for general admission.
Adapted and directed by Archway artistic director Steven Sabel, the production stars Archway resident company member, Hillary Weintraub, in the role of Hecuba, queen of conquered Troy. Weintraub is surrounded by fellow company members, Annie Freeman Sabel, EmLee Vassilos, Abigail Hunt, Angie Dobson, Sydnee Ortiz, Taylor Marr, and Brittany McSorley. Other members of the cast include Daren Prescott, Laura Negin Prescott, Steven Cole, Mishelle Fuentes, Penelope Chan, Sarah Wylie, Brooke McKenzie-Dawson, and Hannah Taragan.
“Trojan Women” begins at the end of the Trojan War. King Priam is dead. The valiant Hector and young Paris, Priam’s sons by Hecuba, have also fallen in battle. The Greeks are victorious, and the Trojan women are now the spoils of war, awaiting to hear their final fates.
“It really is such a timeless tale of the horrors of war that are suffered by those who are left behind after the conflict has ended,” said Sabel. “We chose to present the story in a post-modern world in order to capture that timeless aspect of the message,” he said.
Though the production will feature thematic aspects of its ancient Greek origins, including fallenpillars and the presence of gods from the Greek pantheon, Sabel says the look and feel of the production is meant to mirror modern war-torn areas of the world such as Serbia, Syria, Palestine, or the Ukraine.
“We wanted the look and feel of the production to honor the Greek origins of the play, while also suggesting that the locale can be any time, any place where people have suffered the loss and aguish that is caused by military conflict,” said Sabel.
In that vein, Sabel says that he has done something different with the Greek chorus of women found in the original text by separating them out and creating unique individual characters. Each woman has a Greek name that identifies with an aspect of their plight, and the challenges they must endure in the face of their captivity.
“Though they suffer together as the women of Troy, they each face their own individual form of pain, loss, and the ultimate acceptance of their fates. A fallen queen must become a slave. The wife of Hector must surrender her child, and consign herself to marry another man. Helen must face her proscribed doom of death for her betrayal of Menelaus,” Sabel said.
Yet in the end, there is an unyielding strength and spirit among these women to carry on despite their losses and suffering, he said. “And that’s the true beauty of the play: the ability of these women to stand tall and emit such strength in the face of their adversity,” said Sabel.