Here is how the majority of Greek Tragedies work: there is usually a war, some sort of betrayal is committed, revenge is taken, and it all ends in a bloody mess. That being said they can be quite enjoyable! United Players Hecuba is no exception. Presented in a new adaption by Nicholas Kilmer, and originally written by the epic Euripides, the production uses a combination of classical language and modern vocabulary.
If you’ve never seen a Greek Tragedy: Go. See it! I understand how the antiquated language can be daunting and the plots downright disturbing yet… there’s a certain beauty to Greek Tragedies that is hard to describe without viewing live. The characters are raw, ruthless, sympathetic; the words eloquent, descriptive and powerful; the plots violent, exciting and engaging. They are about human desire, love, and quests for power. Tales which we may be slightly out of touch with in our first world modern society yet they expose the basic consciousness that resides within us all.
United Player’s production of Hecuba certainly encompasses all these aspects. The wife of King Priam and former Queen of the now-fallen city of Troy, Hecuba is distraught to find our her daughter is to be killed as a sacrifice, shortly before finding the corpse of her youngest son who was being ‘kept safe’ with a faraway guardian. She unforgivingly enacts revenge on her son’s murderer by slaughtering his two young sons.
The production is simple, intimate and engaging. A thrust stage with a sand pit in the centre and a tent near the back allows you to focus on the actors themselves and the motions they make while reciting their speeches. There are some strong performances and the adapted language makes it easy for all to understand.
Greek Tragedies date as far back as perhaps 534 BC, the three most infamous authors being Euripides, Aeschlyus and Sophocles. To call yourself any kind of theatre goer you simply must be exposed to this genre, obviously along with the works of Shakespeare. The typical themes of a Greek Tragedy have the remarkable ability to appeal to just about any preference; love, violence, dance, music, war, gods, desire…Who’s to say there’s not something for everyone?
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