C’mon now, be honest. When was the last time you saw an ancient Greek tragedy performed in Sydney? Anywhere?
Tucked in a corner of Marrickville, the Hellenic Art Theatre is putting on a most moving and dramatic spectacle. Through The Trojan Woman, the 5th century BC playwright Euripides tells the story of the tragedy of the Trojan women after their city is invaded and sacked by the Greeks bearing gifts in the form of a large horse filled with soldiers.
But mortals are the playthings of the gods, and in the first scene, the gods Poseidon (John Daviskas) and Athena (Chris Messaris) discuss the Trojan war.
Initially, the former supports the Trojans and the latter the Greeks, but Athena changes her mind after the Trojan princess Cassandra is raped by the Spartan warrior Ajax in her temple. The two gods decide to punish the Greeks by whipping up the seas to prevent their easy passage home.
Exeunt gods, enter Hecuba (Mimika Valaris), the queen of Troy, and the chorus, comprising Hecuba’s handmaidens and noble Trojan women who lament the murder of their families, the destruction of their city, and their captivity into slavery by the invading army who will force them to leave their city forever.
This style of theatre is largely declamatory, not conversational as we have come to expect in modern times, and therein lie the heartbreaking moments when the women of Troy lament in unison in one loud anguished voice.
Stavros Economidis did a fine job of directing the large theatre troupe of 26 players.
Until Apr 7. The Greek Theatre, Building 36, Addison Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville. $25-$30+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.greekfestivalofsydney.com.au
Reviewed by Irina Dunn