Euripedes’ The Trojan Women (Randolph Academy) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

For this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, the Randolph Academy has chosen Euripides’ The Trojan Women. Featuring students in their final year at the Academy, this rendition of the classic play is set in an apocalyptic near future to illustrate a point — history repeats itself.

The Trojan Women was written by Greek playwright Euripides produced in 415 BC detailing the lives of the women of Troy after the fall of their city. With their husbands dead, the women are about to be taken away as slaves. In their final moments together, they search for meaning in their lives.

Classic Greek theatre is a daunting project to take on with numerous nuances and layers to the story and dialogue – it’s a heavy, meaty story and the cast in this production did a highly commendable performance.

The dialogue is very distinct and though the language is not as flowery as, say, Shakespeare, it takes some getting used to it so the words roll off the tongue naturally. In this case the dialogue felt memorized and scripted, like the actors could have used a few more weeks perfecting the acting of the text so it would feel more natural and their body language would reflect their words.

The strongest, I found, out of all the actors was Avery Dupuis who portrayed the widow Andromache. There’s a distinct level of maturity, reservation, and cultivated quiet rage that Dupuis was able deliver quite well.

When seeing a student production, I try my hardest to ignore the fact that the cast and crew are made up of students and just focus on the performance, but sometimes the rawness of student energy can’t be ignored. The character of Cassandra (played by Lianne Charette) has an incredibly sexual nature to her — to the point of her writhing in ecstasy on stage. I couldn’t get over the fact that Charette appears rather young–young enough that watching the scene felt uncomfortable. It also didn’t feel like she connected with the act when she portrayed it.

There’s a lot of potential here and that’s the best part of a student production — plenty of room and opportunities to grow as actors even after they’re finished their schooling. This production of The Trojan Woman is a highly commendable effort. It’s worth checking out to support student work at the Fringe.

Euripedes’ The Trojan Woman plays at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst Street, Bathurst and Lennox)

Show times
July 04 at 03:00 PM
July 07 at 10:15 PM
July 08 at 04:00 PM
July 09 at 01:45 PM
July 11 at 07:30 PM
July 13 at 07:30 PM

Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.

 To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Photo of Demi McIntosh and Avery Dupuis by Darlene Spencer