@troy is everything i want from theatre. specifically sited in space, set in the military pomp of the gurkha museum, and based on the story of trojan women during battle with the greeks over the beautiful helen, @troy is non-specifically sited in time. the story is ancient, but the issues are timeless, from all time, and painfully relevant to today. with both oblique and direct references throughout to some of the horrors we currently face (drones, governmental guff and bluff, silencing of dissenters, ill-informed decision-making), and with the genius device of cassandra’s visions arriving by mobile telephone, the central military themes (the prospect of which, as play material, i did not relish) were handled so deftly and in such an interesting way, that i was captivated from the start.
there were two aspects to this piece of work that particularly appealed to me:
it was staged such that we, the audience, were sitting around two large tables, making bunting, drinking toasts and were extras to the action, creating the atmosphere of the event. the play itself moved around the room, between the tables, amongst us. we were invited, implicated, questioned, directed, immersed. this was active watching, participation – an iteration that we none of us were exempt from the ramifications of the horrors of war, whatever our position.
and then there were the stories. the stories of the women. contemporary accounts, garnered at first hand by the writers, were synthesized so fluidly with the high drama of greek tragedy to give nuanced and diverse insight into the lives of women whose military menfolk, be they fathers, brothers, husbands, or sons, live in peril. whether staunch, unerring supporters of the system, or troubled, questioning women compelled to maintain a supportive front, the strength and endurance required were shown to us with a humanity that touched us, and engendered a deep empathy.
the casting was perfect – cassandra’s pivotal madness, cora’s encompassing resilience, hecuba’s tragic leadership, andromache’s wretched ambivalence, helen’s seductive isolation and diakonos’ dutifully delivered, life-changing news, were each conveyed with commitment and skill that left me speechless. the chorus rounded the shape of the production, with just two actors bringing a sense of group and community in an understated yet powerful way.
so, from me a huge thank you, for a truly remarkable experience, to all involved.
cora .. vix hobbs
chorus 1 & 2 .. amber o’connell, anna carr
diakonos .. colin mcallister
hecuba .. annie sanger-davies
andromache .. hannah timms
cassandra ..johannah jolson
helen of sparta .. beth cleeter