Thursday, January 18, 2007

Trojan Women in a Greek Theater

One of the most memorable events of my stay here in Sicily was attending a performance of an original Greek play by Euripedes in an original Greek theater in Siracusa last May. Every year, or maybe every other year, the National Institute of Classical Drama produces two such classical plays in this theater, which is much like the other theaters I've seen at Taormina, Segesta, and Tindari. The seating is semi-circular and rises up above the stage below. They are built with an open backdrop on spectacular scenery. I would guess the one in Siracusa also was like that, but now there are trees and a modern city behind it. Still, the setting is very special, very old, and perfect for a play from 415 BC.

This particular play, Troiades, is "one of Euripides' greatest anti-war plays." Although it was performed in Italian, I had read the summary and was able to follow it fairly easily. Basically, the city of Troy had fallen to the Greeks and the women of Troy were waiting to be handed over to their new Greek masters. In fact, 95% of the characters were female. There is a lot of weeping and wailing and hand-wringing, women in chains, the killing of offspring, the eventual departure of all the women with Troy "burning" in the background, and DRAMA. The staging was really very cool, a combination of modern and classical (like an abandoned truck as a wagon and the actors in Greek robes).

I greatly enjoyed it, and even moreso because I was in the company of my two new friends, Fran and Steve, Americans living on the other side of Sicily. Fran was a fellow blogger (Sicilian Mama), which was how I met her. We had corresponded and finally arranged to meet in Siracusa for this play. We had a grand time together and made plans for more. Unfortunately, Fran's time in Sicily was cut short by her unexpected death to leukemia just last month. I miss her and know that many people feel a great loss. I don't think I would have the experience of seeing this play if it weren't for she and Steve arranging it and inviting me. And for that, I'll always be grateful. This posting is for her.


At February 22, 2007 5:09 PM, Blogger Travel Around Tips said...

Hi, Maryellen:

I am a Sicilian living in New York and your post about the Greek tragedy made me homesick. I used to go to Syracuse every other year with the school (Liceo Classico). Thank you for posting this and for your comments.

Also, check out my site: I work on it on my spare time. Let me know what you think. Some of your post could be republished there with your permission.


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