IF’s September reading of Euripides’ Hecuba packed out the Greensboro Room at the Bama Theatre. And I’ve learned that UA’s APO is offering pledge points to students that attend IF events. And the reading was reviewed by The Dome. There’s nothing tragic about that!
Here are a few thoughts on the production from the director, Steve Burch, the cast list, and some rehearsal photos courtesy of Jason Pan.
Hecuba by Euripides
An Improbable Fictions staged reading
Sept. 22, 2011, Bama Theatre
Cast (in order of appearance):
Polydorus: Joey Gamble
Polymestor: Russell Frost
Hecuba: Deborah Parker
Coryphaeus: Karen Baker
Chorus #1 : Susie Johnson
Chorus #2 : Adella Smith
Chorus #3 : Phoebe Threatt
Chorus #4 : Amber Gibson
Polyxena: Natalie Hopper
Odysseus: Nic Helms
Talthybius: James Wesley Glass
Agamemnon: David Ainsworth
Soldier/Son: Tyler Spindler
Soldier/Son: Eric Marable, Jr.
Adaptor/Director: Steve Burch
Hecuba is a prisoner’s tragedy; if a modern analogy be permitted, a concentration camp play . . . . [It] is born out of contemporary experience; it is a bitterly human and darkly profound reflection of the ills of the Peloponnesian War . . . . Thucydides reflected upon the frightful demoralization and deprivation which the war had brought about in individual as well as in social and political life. Euripides, in his Hecuba, presents a similar indictment of this time; and, in its universal meaning, going beyond his time, of man’s insufficiency and cruelty.
As a prisoner’s tragedy, the Hecuba has three main aspects:
- the suffering of the enslaved women
- the characters of her masters and tormentors
- the effect which unbearable suffering has on her.
Here, in this last aspect, lies the real and truly terrible tragedy: Under the pressure of torture beyond endurance, the sufferer becomes as bestial as the tormentors. A most pitiable woman is transformed into a fiery-eyed dog . . . . We will learn [over the course of the play] what it means to be a prisoner . . . . The tragedy of Hecuba, the prisoner, ends in her moral destruction. The forces that destroy her are realistically presented and forever symbolized in Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Polymestor . . . . But who are those who represent human decency, or even greatness, in this play? Not the “kings” who hold the power; but a child who has not lived yet, a [messenger] and unnamed soldiers. They remain on the sidelines of the action, and have no influence on the course of events.