Edinburgh Fringe 2012
This is an American University performance piece that has strong performances from a very able cast. The Trojan Women deals with the issues involved in the aftermath of ten years of warfare. As with all Greek tragedies heart filled sacrifice and the edicts of the Gods are wrapped up in angst and pain for each of the mere mortals onstage. The actors rise to the task as well as young actors can.
Ancient Geek drama comes strong on the intellectual fortitude required to perform it whilst low on the action required to demonstrate it. As an audience member you can be feeling a little left out. It makes it hard for theatre companies within the Fringe because the plays do not lend themselves to great set pieces, leaving you with arguments at high tempo on topics that are difficult to comprehend for young so long.
On its opening night this was a very well rehearsed and tight performance. From the first to the end there was great energy from the cast as they performed at a particularly high level. Only at one point within the drama was there any form of slip as one actress found herself stumbling a little. The topic is however a little beyond the cast’s experiences and though they managed to perform this well, the subject matter was unequal to their abilities. I was longing for them to embrace something a bit more radical but having said that the piece they presented was mighty fine. In terms of their acting, the only piece that I did feel was a tad over bearing was the whining. It may be personal but it grated.
The basic nature of the set had black, white and reds the dominant colours. This was hardly innovative for a Greek tragedy but the functional nature of the piece calls for simplicity. In terms of the costume I did have one bug bear which was Hector in jeans and a hoody. It simply didn’t fit though it could simply be because the costume was lost in transit. If you establish the rest of the cast in fatigues, blacks or suits it does jar a little. I would have preferred a more soldierly approach. It did mean that he stood out and perhaps that was the point.
The audience were generally appreciative and it was a good number for an opening. I enjoyed the piece but it left me wondering whether I would have liked to have seen more from this very able cast. The cast performed well, there were a few technical issues that I took issue with but overall there was something in terms of this production that was missing. The actors are very able but the direction felt to be understated to the point of absence. The text is stable, the actors are able but the direction fails them in ways that I will look out for another performance from this company; but not an adaptation.