Trojan Women looks at the devastation of war

Theatre Review:  Trojan Women by Euripides

Euripides was a complex fellow. He revelled in women's concerns, writing some of the strongest women in theatre history, however, he was accused of being a woman hater. Was he?

He certainly parades a few outraged, noble heroines here but what of his fascination for the femme fatale?

Admire them he did, but he couldn't quite trust them or the beguiling power of their sexuality.

In Trojan Women he also takes on controversial subjects like the futility of war, raising the mirror to his own community's faults, painting them the villains.

Consequently, he is considered a very modern playwright - 2500 years later we still relate to his messages.

Hellenic Art Theatre is presenting this Ancient Greek tragedy in Greek with English surtitles at their Mantouridion Theatre in the Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville, as part of the Greek Festival of Sydney.

Directed by Stavros Economidis this production has all of the elements that you would expect from Ancient Greek Theatre: monologues; masks; an ever-present chorus and drama, drama, drama.

Trojan Women looks at the devastation of war. Through the experiences of the one family singled out by the Greeks to receive the harshest treatment of all because they are the first family of Troy.

Euripides highlights the plights of the losers, the prisoners, the enforced exiles.

Hellenic Art Theatre invites its audience to relate to the women as refugees and boat people. Unlike the refugees of our day they are not leaving their homeland to start again but as captors of the killers of their husband, father and son.

Mimika Valaris as Hecuba, is Troy - its queen, its first mother, grandmother, shepherdess and widow. She carries the audience with her as she embodies the loss of home, community, family and order.

She is Troy's first wailing woman, manifesting the pain, fear, uncertainty and rage of all of the women of her city. And her women - the women of Troy, are the masked ladies of the chorus. They are the commentary on the events unfolding and the emotional thermometer.

If this is your first Ancient Greek play the chorus will impress you in the interplay between the individual members and the group and the stylised use of space. The chorus is the voice of the individual subsumed into the collective voice of a united community suffering together.

Featured in the chorus are two local women, Betty Statiri of Ramsgate and Domna Giannaki of Caringbah.

Special mention must be made of child actor, Deon Gama who performed his silent role with maturity and focus beyond his years.

Visually, it is an impressive production. The thrust stage with its apron seating closely approximates an ancient amphitheatre. The costumes glitter and contrast with the walls and fallen blocks of the city.

The monologues are physicalised with big gestures helping to convey meaning to a non-Greek speaking audience.

You can see Trojan Women, with its easily accessible English surtitles each weekend until the April 7 at Hellenic Art Theatre, Mantouridion Theatre, 142 Addison Rd Marrickville.

Tickets can be booked online