Wagner College Theatre brings a new adaptation of a Greek classic to its Stage One studio theater when “The Trojan Women 2.0” by Charles L. Mee opens. Performances run from Tuesday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 4.
The cast of “The Trojan Women 2.0” features Danielle Allen (Polyxena), Addi Berry (Andromache), Jasmine Canziani (Cassandra), John Drinkwater (Bill), Santa Claire Hirsch (Hecuba), Rachael Houser (Helen), Gregory Ippolito (Menelaus), Daniel Marconi (Talthybius), Nick Manna (Ray-Bob), Devonte McCray (Aeneas), and ensemble members Erin Damners, Kyra Lee, Anne Miele, Katelyn Norman and Kaitlin Quann.
Euripides’ original tragedy dates from 415 BCE after an Athenian army ransacked a small island, killing all of its men and forcing the women and children into slavery. In 1996, the first production of Mee’s adaptation, “Trojan Women: A Love Story,” directed by Tina Landau, was performed in New York City.
Making her WCT directing debut is Wagner theater professor Theresa McCarthy, who has originated roles in innovative works on and off-Broadway, including “First Daughter’s Suite,” “Titanic,” “Floyd Collins,” “Saturn Returns” and “Queen of the Mist.” She is featured vocalist on those cast albums, and on the Nonesuch recordings “Bright Eyed Joy,” the songs of Ricky Ian Gordon; Stephen Sondheim’s “The Frogs/Evening Primrose”; and Audra McDonald’s debut recording, “Way Back To Paradise.” She was a soloist in Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed Bernstein “Mass,” which played in Baltimore, at Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center, with an acclaimed recording by Naxos. She is a teacher of acting and music theatre techniques and a director of new works. McCarthy is devoted to the study and practice of the process of creation.
“I chose Charles Mee’s ‘The Trojan Women 2.0’ (his version inspired by Euripides and Berlioz) for our students because it has a large cast (15) with particularly challenging roles for women and men,” said director Theresa McCarthy.
“It is thrilling to try out our modern performance techniques on this play, which is one of the oldest extant dramas of that period. Ancient Greek drama conventions of monologue punctuated by choral dance and song feels familiar in structure to our classic golden age musicals and to grand opera.
“I have admired Charles Mee since I first worked with him as an actor in the New York City premiere of his ‘Orestes’ in 1993,” McCarthy said. “His ‘(Re)Making Project’ is the repository for all of his plays online, where he invites everyone to download and remake his versions of plays that have existed for thousands of years, as well as his new works. This is the sort of artist that I want my students to encounter in their work at Wagner. And I hope they return to his plays often for inspiration, to produce them and to remake them.”
Wagner’s production features scenic design by Matt Hervilly, costume design by Casey Schweiger, lighting design by Angie Nortz, and sound design by Charlie LaSorda. Anabel Caba is the production stage manager.
Charles L. Mee has written “Big Love, True Love, First Love,” “bobrauschenbergamerica,” “Iphigenia 2.0,” “The Trojan Women 2.0,” “Orestes 2.0” and “Summertime and Wintertime,” among other plays — all of them available on the Internet at charlesmee.org. His plays have been performed at Signature Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theater, Lincoln Center, the Humana Festival, Steppenwolf, American Repertory Theater, and other places in the United States as well as in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna, Istanbul and elsewhere. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Award of Merit Medal for Drama, given for outstanding achievement by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Performances of “The Trojan Women 2.0” are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. The Wagner College Theatre box office in Main Hall can be contacted at 718-390-3259 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 12 to 4 p.m. Single tickets are $10. Wagner College students attend free with current ID.