Students modernize famous Greek tragedy

Western Canada High School productions have taken audiences on a journey to tsarist Russia, the fictional world in which Charlie Brown and his friends live in, and the time of William Shakespeare. For the upcoming fall production, the students will perform a modern version of a Greek tragedy written in 415 BC.

The Trojan Women will be performed at the school’s theatre from Nov. 27 to 30.

Rehearsals for this production began in late September, and the journey has been a terrific experience, says Kristen Sevick, who plays the role of Andromache.

“I like the whole creation bit of rehearsing,” Sevick says.

“Going bit by bit and building off that and watching people have those ‘aha’Sevick, who plays the role of Andromache, delivers a monologue to the audience as part of a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Western Canada High School production, The Trojan Women taking place Nov. 27 to 30 at the school.

Photo by Quinton Amundson moments where they say, ‘This would be so good in that part.’ It is so cool and interesting.”

Sevick is one of 15 females cast in the play. The director, Caitlin Gallichan-Lowe says the amount of girls in the drama program is one of the reasons that this play was chosen. Another reason is the message.

Gallichan-Lowe says: “The Trojan Women tells the story of women in war, and what the experience of women in war is like, particularly afterwards. I think that’s a story we are hearing more of these days. There was a time when women and children were not a target in war; they were ‘collateral damage.’

“But now civilians are targeted. It is not a mistake when a village is hit. It is done on purpose. A women’s view of war is different than a man and I wanted to explore that,” says Gallichan-Lowe.

John Donnell, one of only five males cast in the production, who plays a solider, says the play’s “message about the strength of women” makes it “very beautiful.”

Bringing the production to life

The famous Greek playwright Euripides penned the original version of The Trojan Women.

It tells the story of the women whose husbands were killed, and their children taken away from them after Greece sacked the city of Troy during the Peloponnesian War.

The Trojan Women was updated to a more modern time as the play references cars, the clothing is more modern, and firearms are used as weapons.

Photo by Quinton Amundson The women share their grief and their stories on how the war affected them.

The play was updated to a more modern time as it references cars, the clothing is more modern, and firearms are used as weapons.

The cast and crew pointed to the lighting being very important to create the grim atmosphere of The Trojan Women.

Rachel Ross, the production’s student lighting technician, says that creating the lights was a challenge.

“One of the biggest things was to create different moods with different colours of lights,” Ross said.

“We had scenes with a red feel to it and some with a turquoise colour to create a sense of eeriness.”

Sevick says, “When we got the lights going, it brought this play to life.”

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qamundson@cjournal.ca