Audiences watching the Elmira District Secondary School production of Women of Troy will no doubt be glad they’re staging a modern adaptation for the Sears Drama Festival.
“If you translate the ancient Greek into English, it’s almost the same as reading Shakespeare – very flowery, very long. It takes several pages to tell two sentences’ worth of information,” said drama teacher DJ Carroll.
The language isn’t the only thing that’s been modernized; the soldiers in the play are wearing camouflage, not Greek armour, and the set has a modern, urban feel to it.
The play examines what happens after the Trojan War, when the city has been destroyed and the soldiers killed and their wives and daughters are left.
“It has a very strong anti-war message.”
Carroll chose the play because of that anti-war message, even more relevant now with Canadian troops in Afghanistan. He was also drawn to the idea of a cast that was heavily female-based, with a story told from the women’s point of view.
EDSS is taking two plays to the Sears festival this year.
Amelia Once More, directed by student Cassy Bauman, is about an actress who is losing herself to the role she plays. Played by Christy Hanes, Shelly Preston is a nice, pleasant woman who worries that the nasty character Amelia is taking over her mind. She wants a night off to get control of Amelia, but the director and supporting actress goad her on.
Bauman said she picked the play because of the challenge it offered to the actor, in switching between the two sides of Amelia.
“It seemed like a challenge. I didn’t want to pick something that was too easy or too hard, but I wanted enough of a challenge … There’s a lot of potential for actors to show what they can do.”
Last year Bauman was assistant director for the Sears production Whisperings in the Dark, but this is her first time directing by herself. She’s enjoying the challenge, more so now that it looks like things will come together by opening night.
“It’s good, but sometimes it can be a little stressful. I think it’s going to turn out, though; I’m starting to see this should come together.”
EDSS has taken part in Sears for decades, and this is the first time the school has taken two plays to the festival. The festival is held the first week of March at Bluevale Collegiate, with EDSS performing on the 3rd and 4th. The awards will be presented Mar. 7, and the top three will advance to the regional level.
There will be a preview of both plays on Feb. 28 at 7:30 at EDSS. The cost is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. The proceeds will go to offsetting the costs of entering the Sears Drama Festival.