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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 11. 1965.

The Trojan Women

The Trojan Women

Waikato University tackled Euripides' The Trojan Women in a production which rather complimented their courage than their skill. Talent at a small university is likely to be scarce and, in a production of this size, thinly spread, so that even modest success is cause for congratulation.

And it may be said in their favour that tragedy did not become farce, and there were moments in which we could forget the production and attend properly to the play. Maybe Greek tragedy does require stylisation and declamation; but these modes have no intrinsic good, and when they exist uninformed by intelligence and untempered by discretion, the play, and the audience's interest, goes into a decline.

Thus my chief objection to Hecube (Pauline Fordyce) was that clarity of thought and form were smothered in ululation. She began and ended on the same excruciating pitch, leaving no room for development and precious little for admiration.

Her faults were, alas, widely shared; but in addition to these there were two specific problems which the production failed to solve—staging and the chorus. Visually the whole thing was uninteresting. If the producer had dispensed with his imitation Parthenon and replaced it with a high series of rostra across the back of the stage, he could have given the Greeks menacing height and separatedness, given the women more levels to act on, and enhanced the feeling of their captivity.

The chorus was large, and manoeuvred like a cavalry regiment, filing, rising, descending, and lamenting in unison. Some of its speeches were divided amongst its members, but on the whole it did not escape a too rigid uniformity, nor interact successfully with the other characters.