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Theatre students take on Greek tragedy

Jessica Ireland | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 14th, 2011

This year's graduates from Fanshawe's theatre arts program are tackling love, war and the questions surrounding them in their production of Trojan Women: A Love Story.

The original Trojan Women, written by Euripides, premiered in 415 BC. The graduating class chose to do Charles Mee's contemporary version, which still features the same themes with more modern language.

The play takes place after the Trojan War, where the men of Troy are all dead and the women — including Queen Hecuba and her daughters — are left behind and allotted to the Greek men.

A unique aspect of the play is that it was written by a Greek playwright, performed in a Greek theatre for a Greek audience and portrayed the Greeks as the bad guys, said director Gil Garratt. "Think of the context of the world today, you cannot make a critique on the war on Iraq without being labeled a terrorist. Here is a people looking at the brutalization of their actions. It's mature, a piece of critical insight there," he explained.

Trojan Women is "very violent and sexual," exploring love and war, and the way men and women treat each other. "The microcosm of individual relationships and the macrocosm of society," said Garratt.

Theatre student Ximena Huizia, who plays Dido, said that although the play covers historical events, its topics are still relevant today.

"It asks a lot of current questions ... on relationships, why do we say the things we do?" she said. "It's fun, it's crazy, there is some dancing, some singing. It's seriously funny in some places. It's a smart play, for sure."

The cast of 24 students has been working on the play for about seven weeks, and audiences can expect a big play with big ideas.

"It's a challenging work, but that's what you want ... it pushes your mind and urges you to think about the world differently," said Garratt. "It's a pretty full offering."

Trojan Women: A Love Story takes place Wednesday, February 16 (preview performance) at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 19 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 at the door — cash only. Reservations are recommended. Contact Megan Thelosen at or by phone at 519-434-2756 ext 230 for more information. The play is being held at the Fanshawe College Citi Plaza Campus.
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