Sunday, January 20, 2008

Trojan Women

Photo/Enid Farber

The problem Alfred Preisser runs into with his adaptation and direction of Euripides' Trojan Women is that the audience he's trying to affect with lists of modern atrocities is protected by two things: first, a steel cage designed by Troy Hourle that shields us more than it imprisons them; second, a wide variety of general statements, delivered by a bland ensemble that bleeds together into a wall of sound. The play needs to step outside the box, not hide within it. There are some standout performances from Tryphena Wade, as the aggrieved seer, Cassandra; Michael Early, as a two-faced diplomat with genuine remorse with his task; and Zainab Jah as an oily Helen of Troy, wrapping both her body and words around men like Meneleus (Ty Jones), but there's a disappointing uniformity in the rest of the cast, especially in deposed Queen Hecuba (Lizan Mitchell), who sputters and fumes without any real desperation or sense of purpose.

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