Review: ‘The Trojan Women’ send an anti-war message through millenniums

Asya Danilova

  • OnStage New York Critic

‘The Trojan Women’, currently running in Flea Theater, is a tragedy originally written by Euripides. Ellen McLaughlin adopted the 415 BC play in 1995 in response to the Bosnian War. Unfortunately for humanity, anti-war plays are always relevant, thought this particular production, directed by Anne Cecelia Haney, doesn’t have many concrete historical or timely references.    

Women of Troy lost everything – their loved ones, their city and their freedom to the war with the Greeks. They spend their last hours awaiting the departure of the ships, which will bring them to new lands. The poisonous green walls, painted halfway, are like a transfer point for the refugees at a government owned institution. Scenic designer, Marthe Johanne Ekhougen, added some dirty plastic sheets to the ceiling and a string of bare lamp bulbs to transform the chamber space of the Flea’s basement theater into a prison-like limbo. 

As the audience enters the theater, they see women sleeping on the floor. Their eyes are tied with transparent fabric. They dream of the majestic Troy, which was their home, they dream of themselves in the past, in a former life. They rise and join their voices to a chorus of nostalgic reminiscence. The terror of reality greets them upon awakening. Lead by Hecuba, a queen in exile (intense and unbreakable DeAnna Supplee), the women of Troy are fighting fear and despair. They remember the time when they saw a beautiful wooden horse outside the city and welcomed it as a token of peace from the Greeks. They sing and dance, recreating the joy of the end of the war. But we all know how that gift paid off. 

Unable to reach their offenders, they hurl their anger on Helen (Rebeca Rad) who is hardly the one to blame. A fighting/dancing scene follows, beautifully staged by the choreographer Joya Powell. The sound design by Ben Vigus and the lighting by Scot Gianelli highlight the slow-mo moments of the fight, making it even more surreal and terrifying. The strong side light creates a very dramatic theatrical effect. In combination with the eclectic costume and scenic design by Marthe Johanne Ekhougen, it creates a unique, appealing and fancy look. 

‘The Trojan Women’ runs through September 30th. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 9PM and Sunday at 3PM. Tickets are $15-$20 with the lowest priced tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Flea Theater is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway. Purchase tickets by calling 212-352-3101 or online at Photo by Allison Stock