USD Theatre to perform classic Greek drama

USD Theatre to perform classic Greek drama The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre tackles classic Greek drama in its upcoming production of Women of Troy by Euripides.

When the play performs Dec. 3-7 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre, spectators can expect to see an ancient story that is as immediate today as it was when it appeared on the Athenian stage in 415 B.C. Although actors wear masks, a performing convention that was standard in ancient Greece, Kenneth McLeish's fast-paced, modern translation of the play has led to an abstract setting and contemporary costumes with Greek-influences. Over time, however, the themes remain constant: War is senseless, and women and children are its innocent victims.

Women of Troy is set on the island of Melos whose people refused to support Athens against Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. This decision brought the wrath of the Athenians upon the Trojans.

Athenians slaughtered the men and boys and enslaved the women. The action centers on a group of captives, led by the matriarch Hecuba. The women are waiting to be shipped from Troy as slaves, the day after the city's destruction.

The play, which is a stunning portrayal of suffering, is generally regarded as one of the most powerful dramas on the subject of war in all literature.

Roberta Rude, associate professor of theatre, directs the action. Her cast includes Shane Sather of Watertown, and Alyssa Horn of Glencoe, MN, as the Greek Gods Poseidon and Athene. Milbank native Kari Hammer assumes the role of Hecuba, while Jennifer Edwards of Huron, and Melissa Doohen of Yankton, play her daughters Cassandra and Andromache, respectively. Astyanax, Andromache's young son, is played by Philip Erikson of Vermillion.

The Chorus of Trojan Women includes Regina Aerts of Malcolm, NE, Emily Bonnema of Sheldon, IA, Marcie Brenden of Sioux Falls, Elizabeth Brockway and Amanda Miller of Council Bluffs, IA, and Sarah Hoar, Rose Ann Kelly and Jill Puffer of Aberdeen.

Talthybius is played by Brian Begley of Rapid City, while Menelaus and Helen are played by Tyler Swank of Rapid City, and Martha Crouse of Morris, MN. Jonnie Stapleton of South Sioux City, NE, and Alex Baker of Hot Springs, complete the cast as Greek soldiers.

The Dec. 4 performance will be followed by a talk-back session at which RoAnn Redlin, director of the Vermillion Women's Coalition, Tim Schorn, associate professor of political science, and Rude will discuss the themes and contemporary resonances of the play in a question and answer format.

Tickets to Women of Troy are $9 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $5 for youth and non-USD students, and $1 for USD students with current ID. Reservations can be made by calling the University Theatre box office at (605) 677-5400 beginning Nov. 26. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

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