The Sunshine Coast's newest theatre company, iSaW, is producing their own adaptation of Euripides anti-war play, Trojan Women.
Director Sally Williams employs exercises that lead to a deepening involvement between body and psychology during a performance. This system, introduced to iSaW founding members Williams, Kathy Para and Mardell Vestad by Basya Hunter, relies on body-based performance techniques, working with the chest, stomach, diaphragm, pelvis and buttocks as major emotional centres.
"It's compelling right off the bat because intellectualization has to take a back seat," Vestad said.
This is at the heart of iSaW Theatre's mandate.
"iSaW Theatre plans to turn you upside down and shake you with passionate, intelligent theatre," said Para, co-adaptor and performer in the play. "We will explore, push the boundaries and give you our personal commitment that our brand of theatre will move you."
Trojan Women is a stunning look at war and its aftermath, how going to war is often based on a fallacious excuse (in this case, the capture of Helen) and more importantly, the suffering of those left behind.
Set the morning after the fall of Troy, Queen Hecuba and her surviving daughters are awakened to learn their city is destroyed, and the victorious leaders of the conquering army have drawn lots to decide who will get Hecuba and her daughters as spoils of war. Hecuba is told that her husband is dead, her youngest daughter has been killed as a sacrifice at the tomb of Achilles, and her infant grandson will be killed to prevent him from becoming an adult and seeking retribution later.
As the day continues, more news of their fates and the consequences of being on the losing side of war continue to rain down on the women. For iSaW, this play speaks to addiction, bullying and victimhood as much as it speaks of war. It becomes a song to the gods, asking for light in the cracks of seemingly total darkness, and a conversation on fate versus destiny. As the actors mirror back to the audience an inner strength that will carry them into the light once more, iSaW's Trojan Women becomes a celebration of values that are usually destroyed by addiction, bullying and war - love, loyalty and hope.
The production is a benefit for the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden in Sechelt and the iSaW Theatre.
The show runs at the Sparling Pavilion at the Botanical Garden Nov. 2 and 3, 8 to 10 and 15 to 17 at 8 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinées on Nov. 4 and 18. There is also a 2 p.m. Sunday matinée on Nov. 25 at the Pender Harbour School of Music. Tickets are $20 available at Gaia's Fair Trade in Gibsons, Fresh from the Coast in Sechelt, the Roberts Creek Health Food Store and Bluewaters Books in Madeira Park. For more details check out www.isawtheatre.org.
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