Last updated on Oct 16, 2016
By Ruhi Gandhi
This month, the Post Theatre Company presents Trojan Barbie by Christine Evans, whose work has received multiple awards across the U.S., U.K., and Australia. The show is directed by Illana Stein, a New York based theatre director, who was brought in specifically for the show.
According to Samuel French’s website, Trojan Barbie is a, “Part contemporary drama, part homage to Euripides’ Trojan Women, Trojan Barbie recasts the legendary fall of the city of Troy against the vivid reality of modern warfare. Poetic, compassionate, and tinged with great warmth and humor, Trojan Barbie is an epic war story with a most unlikely heroine, who always looks on the bright side even as past and present collide about her.”
The cast includes our very own students Emily Banks, Melissa Bianchi, Jaeda Blair, Torun Esmaeili, Griffin Lockette, Nyla Sampson, and Diamond Essence White as the Trojans. In other various roles, Gabe Amato, Paul Bakey, Aaron Cooper, Justin Dickenson, Ethan Graeme Moore Dodd, Angela Downs, Ervin Gonzales, and Christina Kroell perform, all of whom are theatre majors.
“It has been wonderful working on Trojan Barbie with this talented group of students,” Stein said. “They’ve become a true ensemble as they embraced the world of the play. In the rehearsal room they have explored mask compositions, built character collages, rhythm and tableaux work. Hopefully it will all pay off in the performances they put up.”
Stein explains that her favorite part has been the conversation in the first days of table work “as we dug deeper into the themes of the play of war, gender identity, female empowerment, and rising above the constraints that society can put on people.” The play is complex, and Stein expresses pride in the students for accepting the challenge.
“What I love about Trojan Barbie is a world that marries the old and the new, or in our design how we fully embraced the plastic and the stone,” Stein added. Inspired by the Greek tragedy Trojan Women by Euripides, Trojan Barbie represents victims of war: the refugees, the voiceless, and the women, according to Stein. “The hope is that the women have each other to hold on to. For these women in the play, Lotte, on of the characters, bares witnesses to it all and is there to bury the dead and carry on their stories so they are no longer forgotten,” she said.
Angela Downs, a senior musical theatre major who plays the role of Helen in the play, says, “Every experience is different. Seeing the trajectory of the production is one of my favorite things. To think back on table work, and talking as a cast about the meaning of the play and its bare bones, to finally dressing it with movement and space, and then costumes, sounds, and lights. Each layer puts you deeper in the world and encourages your character to come to life. It’s exhausting spending 24 hours a week in the studio and hours and hours doing outside work on your own, but it is the most rewarding and thrilling experience.”
Downs spoke about the excitement of opening night. “You can feel the energy from the audience get stronger as more people come in. The sound from the people talking is a very specific sound and it’s almost calming to me, but yet lights a fire that can’t exist is rehearsals or tech runs,” she said. “Our company is also extraordinarily supportive and we can count on a full house and a safe audience. My hope for opening night is for the cast to come together as an ensemble like we haven’t before, and to allow ourselves to play and have fun and find new moments on stage. This is our job, and to be part of theater in any way makes me feel extraordinarily lucky.”
The play incorporates aspects of Greek mythology, which may be confusing to the audience if they have no prior knowledge of Greek Mythology and related events in its history. It may be difficult to understand why certain characters behave the way they do and why they have a certain intensity. Despite this, the play offers a good sense of humor amongst the intense moments and makes it easy to follow the events. The play runs in the Little Theatre Mainstage on Oct. 7, 8, and 13- 15 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 9 and 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students. To make reservations, email the box office at email@example.com or call them at 516-299-2356.