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The Trojan Women: ancient drama, new production

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Nicola Heywood Thomas Nicola Heywood Thomas | 14:42 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

Fancy watching a play written in 415 BC? If so, the Riverfront in Newport is the place to go between 10 and 13 February.

The play is The Trojan Women written by the great Greek tragedian, Euripides but the production by Theatr Pena is a translation and version by the poet Brendan Kennelly. As the show's director, Erica Eirian said on this week's Radio Wales Arts Show, it's a play that's very relevant to 21st Century audiences as it deals with the horrors and aftermath of war.

As the title suggests, the cast is mainly female though, unlike Theatr Pena's last English language production, The House of Bernarda Alba, there are a couple of male actors in The Trojan Women.

Theatr Pena's an interesting company. It was set up by a group of female professional actors as a way of doing work together that they really wanted to perform. The company gets no public funding and, as Erica commented, sometimes it's challenging to arrange rehearsals and performances around the cast's other, paid work commitments. But, as she also said, all the women involved get great pleasure out of working together - a real mix of generations and experience - and enjoy performing works that might otherwise not be staged.

I went to Theatr Pena's production of The House of Bernarda Alba last year and was really impressed. The Trojan Women promises to be another powerful night in the theatre though it's a show that will need a stock of hankies in the pocket.


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