Director Jan Wood (centre) discusses scarves and fabric samples with student costume designer Sasha Lazin (left) for the characters in the Phoenix Theatre’s The Trojan Women, as fellow student, set designer Matthew Wilkerson, reviews how they will appear on his war-torn set. Courtesy University of Victoria

The Trojan Women and their ancient story storm Phoenix Theatre

UVic theatre department to stage Euripedes’ Greek tragedy about the aftermath of war

A story that, in director Jan Wood’s words, is “as ancient as antiquity itself and as relevant as this morning’s Twitter feed” will be dramatically told at the University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre in February.

From Feb. 14 to 23, students from UVic’s theatre program are staging The Trojan Women, a translated version of Euripedes’ ancient Greek tragedy about the brutal aftermath of war, one told from the perspective of the women of Troy, whose fate lie ahead as slaves.

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Euripedes, who was known for including strong female characters in his work, wrote the play in 415 BCE. American poet and English professor Alan Shapiro translated this version in 2009. The story and its themes of grief, uncertainty and hope still resonate today, Wood says.

“It is a testament to the ability of the human spirit to withstand cruelty inflicted upon others in the name of war, in the name of greed, in the name of lust, of vengeance, of envy, of intolerance, of fear,” she says. “The women of Troy demonstrate resiliency, perseverance and the ability to endure in the face of unthinkable loss and sorrow.”

The students are heavily involved in all aspects of this production, both on stage and behind the scenes, from set decoration and costuming to lighting and sound design. The heavy subject matter is such that it presents artistic challenges for all to create just the right mood and feel for the story.

The Trojan Women has been described as the greatest anti-war play ever written,” Wood notes. “By working on this text, I am also hoping to encourage future theatre artists to continue to create art that has meaning and significance at a time of great turmoil in the world.”

Tickets run between $16 and $26 and are available by calling 250-721-8000.

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