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The Trojan Women

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THE TROJAN WOMEN, CollaborAction Theatre Company, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Euripides' inexhaustible tragedy is currently repeating itself in Kosovo and East Timor, though the artistic side of the story is surely lost on the victims. The same raw resonance fuels Kimberly Senior's fluid staging, a volatile blend of Richard Lattimore's traditional translation and Charles Mee's visceral adaptation.

Euripides focuses on the defeated Trojans, especially the women--widows and mourners whose graphic testimony strips war of any glory. After losing her son Hector, Hecuba (an initially matter-of-fact but ultimately devastated Diahanna Davidson) sees her virginal daughter Polyxena (radiant Cheryl Chamblee) sacrificed to the bloodthirsty ghost of Achilles. Unheeded Cassandra (Liza Bryn Williams, hapless and hurt) seeks in vain a "bridge of love" between war and peace, while Andromache (sad-faced Stacy Stoltz) laments the love she's lost. Sandra Delgado's calculating Helen--industriously entrapping the clueless Menelaus (an ardent and angry Scott Buechler)--shows how little was accomplished by the deaths of so many. The bullying Greeks range from the usual cruel soldiers to a bureaucratic envoy (Noah Simon) whose dithering reveals yet another face of the banality of evil.

Superbly backing up the 16 cast members is David Edson's bitter blues score: it both updates these agonies and confirms their timelessness. Gyrating in swirls of serpentine movement, the five female chorus members are equally evocative, pouring out Euripides' once and future pain with passionate precision. --Lawrence Bommer

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