Monday, November 10, 2014
CMU's School of Drama presents "Trojan Women: A Love Story" by Charles L. Mee, Directed by Jed Allen Harris
PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama brings a new adaptation of a Greek classic to the Philip Chosky Theater when "Trojan Women: A Love Story" by Charles L. Mee opens at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13. The performance, directed by Professor Jed Allen Harris, will run through Nov. 22.
"Trojan Women: A Love Story" reflects the damage over 2,000 years of war has wrought on humanity since Euripides' original play. The director's note at the end of the script reads: "Trojan Women 2.0 was developed ... incorporating shards of our contemporary world, to lie, as in a bed of ruins, within the frame of the classical world." With this in mind, the School of Drama has built upon Mee's rendition under the guidance of Harris and Associate Professor of Dramaturgy Megan Monaghan Rivas. This production tells both Mee's and Euripides' war stories as well as our own 21st century version.
"Charles Mee's adaption of 'Trojan Women' holds the mirror up to the horrors of war," said Peter Cooke, head of the School of Drama. "Given the anguished world we live in, nothing could be more in need of discussion and examination than the effects of war on those left behind. I am delighted Jed Allen Harris is directing a moral tale that must be told, and retold."
Euripides wrote "The Trojan Women" in 415 B.C. after an Athenian army ransacked a small island, killing all of the men and forcing women and children into slavery. In 1996, the first production of Mee's adaptation, "Trojan Women: A Love Story," was performed in New York City.
"It's extraordinary that in the entire history of dramatic literature, it's the Greek dramatists that have the most empathy for conquered peoples," Harris said. "'Trojan Women' looks at the world through the eyes of the victims rather than the victors. The focus is on women and children, not soldiers. This quality is sadly lacking in most endeavors in the world today. How sad is it that we have to go back to the Greeks to find this kind of empathy?"
Rivas added, "As described by his daughter, director Erin Mee, Chuck Mee 'doesn't write psychologically based narrative dramas. He doesn't write 'literature that walks'-plays where everything that happens is subservient to the text. He writes blueprints for events. For spectacles. For festivals.' For our student actors and designers to know that their contributions are as vital as the playwright's, and their responsibility is as great as his, provides an incredible educational opportunity."
To purchase tickets, call the box office at 412-268-2407 between noon and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.drama.cmu.edu/50/box-office. Performances will take place in the Philip Chosky Theater at CMU's Purnell Center for the Arts. For general information about the School of Drama, visit www.drama.cmu.edu.
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, dramaturg Kate Robinson will host a talkback with the audience, cast and crew after the performance. The discussion will explain the play's background and comment on the research and development of the story line. The dramaturgs are also available to discuss the plays with classes, student groups and public organizations. Contact Wendy Arons, dramaturgy option coordinator, at email@example.com to schedule a session with a dramaturg.