Kudos to the Buffalo Public Theatre and Ujima Company, Inc. The production of The Trojan Women, a Euripides classic, was directed close to perfection last weekend by Joseph and Kelly Bocock-Natale.
Shiny blue banners were twirled imaginatively to represent the unremitting ocean and bright red flags represented the tragic flames of the final destruction of the city. The chorus of Trojan women excelled in its dramatic purpose, interpreting the play for the audience in chanting, song, and movement.
The supporting cast was strong. Standouts were Lorna Hill as Hecuba, laying out her case and persuading her audience, and Diane Curley as Helen of Troy, convincingly regal in the face of the invaders.
The Trojan Women is a story about war but also about the Greek gods and the wars of those days in which people believed the gods participated.
On the earthly side, it is a story denouncing the facts of war, invasion, and dominance: murder, rape, enslavement, and the plunder of civilians and their way of life. On the mythic side, the play retells and reinforces the roles that the gods played in the thinking of the day. They were given qualities and personalities like those of mankind, but with power and motive that necessarily were greater and sometimes ruthless.
And because human nature doesn’t change much, those who favor war and those who favor cooperative ventures will most likely always be immersed in conflicts of their own. That was probably one reason for the standing ovation at the end of the play: that Euripides brought to the attention of the public one more time that war is a state of mind as well as a state of the state: something to “overcome, someday.”
Linda Chalmer Zemel teaches in the Communication Department at SUNY Buffalo State College. She is the publisher and editor of Person, Place, Thing, a literary journal. She also writes the Buffalo Alternative Medicine column for Examiner.com.