The Trojan Women by Euripides
Saturday, 26th May, 2018
10am – 4pm
(Possibly extended into the Sunday if needs require)
Play – tragedy
12th – 20th October
VENUE: (of auditions, rehearsals and some performances)
McClelland College Performing Arts Centre, Alexander Crescent, Frankston, 3199
Award-winning amateur theatre company, Dionysus Theatre, is proud to announce its sixth mainstage production, Euripides’ great tragedy, ‘The Trojan Women’. Directed by award-winning director, Emma Sproule, this play’s treatment of women in the aftermath of a war will be set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Read below for the director’s initial thoughts on the interpretation.
Euripides’s play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves. However, it begins first with the gods Athena and Poseidon discussing ways to punish the Greek armies because they condoned that Ajax the Lesser raped Cassandra, the eldest daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, after dragging her from a statue of Athena. What follows shows how much the Trojan women have suffered as their grief is compounded when the Greeks dole out additional deaths and divide their shares of women. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trojan_Women
The Trojan Women is one of the most powerful dramas in all of literature. Widely considered the greatest anti-war play ever written, it remains both timeless and timely, a poignant meditation on the aftermath of battle. The play centers on Hecuba, the fallen queen of Troy, and her grief at the loss of her city and her family at the conclusion of the Trojan War. Her daughter, Cassandra, mourns the loss of her service as maiden priestess in the temple of Apollo and captivates the audience as the mysterious and frenzied priestess. Andromache, Hecuba’s daughter-in-law, offers a heart-rending scene as she shares with all the death of her son. The beautiful, but much detested, Helen of Troy begs her wronged husband, Menelaus, to spare her life. Through dance and music, the Greek chorus mirrors the sorrow of the loss of Troy.
Hecuba: widow of Priam, King of Troy. Queen of Troy before it fell to the Greeks. She is an older woman who bewails the destruction of her city and the loss of family members.
Andromache: widow of Hector, son of Priam, daughter in law to Hecuba. Shows her utter devotion to her dead husband, Hector, especially through her attempt to protect their son, Astyanax.
Cassandra: daughter of Hecuba and Priam, a prophetess. Saw the results of the Trojan war and where the women were going but no one believed her.
Helen of Troy: Wife of King Menelaus and cause of the Trojan war. She is accused of enjoying her time in Troy and her husband vows to kill her. She pleads with him, claiming that she tried to escape many times and that she did her best to resist.
Athena: Protector of Athens. Goddess of wisdom and war. Although she sided with the Greeks during the war, she turns against them after one of them rapes the Trojan prophetess Cassandra in a temple dedicated to her.
Chorus: a trio Trojan women, of various ages, who await their fate at the hands of the Greeks. The role will involve singing in harmony together and some dance movement.
Poseidon: God of the sea, who sided with the defeated Trojans during the war.
Menelaus: King of Sparta and husband of Helen. He comes to kill Helen as is his right as her new master, but instead is again overwhelmed by her beauty and lets her wile her way back into his home.
Talthybius – Greek officer and herald. He is the one who informs the Trojan women of their fate. Where they will be sent and what will happen to them.
Astyanax: Son of Hector and Andromache, a small boy. He does not speak but is much spoken of by his mother Andromache. He is killed and buried under the shield of his father Hector because he is the last male heir to the throne of Troy.
The Trojan Women is a tragedy centering on the horror of war and its aftermath. Euripides based the play on the myths and legends of the Trojan War. Ancient storytellers mythologised the events before, during and after the war. Gods and goddesses took sides and the deeds of Greek and Trojan warriors were also exaggerated, or even fabricated.
The action takes place before the walls of Troy and it’s in ruins. The Women of Troy, including Hecuba, the Queen, congregate and wait. They are in deep despair as they are to become slaves to the victorious Greeks and are awaiting the news of who will go where, and who will belong to whom.
The Director’s interpretation is set on the stage of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the key word in this interpretation is aftermath. Current Hollywood events seem the perfect prompt for a work that explores women who are disbelieved, disenfranchised and discarded when they are not the ones who wield the power, and sometimes even when they do.
Many years may pass for these stories to be told. Many may have endeavoured to embellish, exaggerate and even fabricate, even if they were not their stories to tell. So, imagine a stage of glamourous sirens and starlets, beautiful on the surface but slaves to an industry nonetheless.
Once again, we find ourselves staggered by the relevance of classical works to our contemporary world. The Trojan Women explores the grief of a Queen stripped of power upon the death of her husband and an entire war blamed on the beauty and betrayal of a single women. The face that launched a thousand ships.
The aesthetic of the Golden Age of Hollywood; so beautiful but also a façade, a distraction from ‘what lies beneath’; subterfuge, sleight of hand and special effects.
If women are struggling to be heard now, imagine how stifled their voice then; we may never know what they wanted to say – even after the arrival of the talkies, they were expected to remain silent.
All actors must have a single prepared classical monologue that reflects the character/s they wish to play; any play except ‘The Trojan Women’. This monologue does not need to be lengthy.
There will also be some scenes provided on the day to read with company actors. You are encouraged to arrive at least fifteen minutes early to allow time to read over these first, however, allowing even more time would be recommended.
If you are also keen to audition for one of the three chorus roles, you will need to prepare a song as well. It’s important that you bring your own backing music and that this is instrumental only, no other vocals on the track. You’re encouraged to select a song that suits the style and/or era of this production’s setting. If you would like to do this section of your audition with another person, especially to highlight your ability to harmonise that would be fine, however, it’s important to ensure both of you have audition times close together. Amber can arrange this if requested and times are available.
AUDITION ENQUIRIES & BOOKING:
Amber Budd (Production Manager)