HECUBA, the Skidmore Theater Company’s mainstage production, opens this Friday April 8th. Skidmore will be hosting Marina Carr’s play for its American premiere, having only been performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. Taking place immediately following the Trojan War and the fall of Troy, the dead victims of the war are parading the streets of their fallen city, uncensored, motivated by the perverse, animalistic desires to defile, cherish, possess, consume, and devour. Thanks to the connections of director Ian Belton (’94), who studied playwriting with Carr, Skidmore has the opportunity to take on this production, and delve into the more universal elements of this Greek Tragedy.
Belton returns to Skidmore to take on this production and is excited to be connecting the themes of the play—the violence and cruelty of the Trojan War—to modern discussions on controversial topics such as geo-politics, gender, race, and religion. On the poster for this show (see below), the actors appear to be dressed in a sort of animalistic costuming, which Belton explains captures a sense of naturalism. Speaking on this aspect of the performance, Belton explains how he defines “‘realism’ as slice-of-life, behavioral drama, and ‘naturalism’ as what happens to humans when societal morals are let go—HECUBA is definitely an expressionistic spin on the latter.” These characters are giving the audience insight into their loss in such a way that Belton calls “revisionist.” As he notes, “history is written by the victors, [but] what is it to look through the eyes of war’s victims?”
Emphasizing his observations of the parallels between the battle of the Ancient Trojans and modern conflicts, Belton utilizes this choice in costuming to illustrate an international element—it is not merely the Trojans who are grieving and angry, but the global community. By creating a more broad, universal aspect, Belton questions the degree to which modern society is civilized if “the atrocities that were perpetrated in a war that took place 2700 years ago are exactly the same as what we are reading in the headlines today.” History certainly repeats itself, which this production—with Belton’s interpretation—further highlights.
HECUBA takes its first American entrance on the mainstage at Skidmore this Friday, April 8th, and it seems that this cast and crew are promising to create a truly unique performance. Reflecting back on the time spent on the rehearsal and construction of this performance, Belton warmly acknowledges, “I have taught and directed at over a dozen colleges and universities across the US, and none of them can touch the talent pool in the JKB.” The director describes “a fearless bond with cast and crew alike,” as they boldly take on this provocative production.
Opening this weekend, the play runs April 8–10 and 14–17, with curtain times at 8 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 PM on Sundays.