Trojan Women

Trojan Women, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday (two additional 7 p.m. shows on Thursday, January 30, and Sunday, February 9); $15-$20. Resurrection Theatre at California Stage, 1725 25th Street; (916) 223-9568; Through February 15.
Rated 3.0

For its season opener, Resurrection Theatre presents a production of Seneca’s Trojan Women, adapted by Howard Colyer: a logical choice for what the theater describes as a season devoted to women’s stories. This is the United States premiere of Colyer’s adaptation of Trojan Women, which focuses on the consequences that befall the women of a community destroyed by war and controlled by their Greek conquerors. No one is particularly happy after the fall of Troy—the lonesome Greek soldiers or the women who have lost heroes, homes and hope.

Resurrection Theatre has created a handsome set inside the expansive California Stage space: a damaged Trojan courtyard where the fate of both the conquered and the conquerors are dramatized.

However, Colyer’s story is a creative concept that stumbles along the way, which is probably why this adaptation hasn’t been embraced by many theaters. First is Colyer’s presumption that the audience is familiar with the Greek Trojan War and its various characters, and since most aren’t, the story oftentimes is confusing and doesn’t stand on its own. And the switch to modern dress doesn’t jive with the dialogue, setting and Greek chorus from way back when, while having a woman play Astyanax also makes little sense.

There are some good performances among the leads, breathing life into the story while tackling difficult dialogue, most notably Mark Urquhart as Ulysses, Maggie Adair Upton as Hecuba, Sabrina Fiora as Cassandra, Stephanie Hodson as Andromache and Amber Lucito as Helen. The large supporting cast is enthusiastic and energetic, but needs a bit more time to gel, which hopefully will happen during the play’s run.