Laugh/Riot presents ‘Trojan Women,’ their final show at EU

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 at 8:55 PM
Laugh/Riot presents ‘Trojan Women,’ their final show at EU by Anna Ashcraft
Photo: Anna Ashcraft

Laugh/Riot’s final performance at Edinboro University will be “Trojan Women,” a modern take on an ancient Greek tragedy focused on the fate of the women of Troy after the Trojan War.

Laugh/Riot has been the resident theatre troupe at EU for the last five years. Rob Connick, director of “Trojan Women” and Laugh/Riot artistic director told The Spectator that after five years, Laugh/Riot will not be renewing their contract with the university.

Connick cleared up some points about Laugh/ Riot’s decision to leave EU. “We chose not to renew our contract, they didn’t cut our funding; we have never been funded by the university.

We have reached a point that we can’t continue without some financial support. It’s at a point where we would both like to continue, but it wasn’t financially viable for either side.”

He continued: “So we are leaving — not happy — but at peace with the decision. The university seems to have goodwill towards it. I don’t want people to blame this on the administration. They did not look at us and pull anything away from us; they are just not able to help us continue.”

The final performance of Laugh/Riot will certainly not mean the end for theatre at Edinboro. The Edinboro University Players (UP), Alpha Psi Omega (APO) and Dramatic Activities have been and will continue to put on plays.

Connick also mentioned he will not be returning as a professor; instead, Professor Shaun Taylor will be returning full-time next year. He reiterated that the theatre department is not experiencing cuts and nothing in the program is changing in any way.

“Trojan Women” is an ancient Greek tragedy focused on the fate of the women of Troy after the defeat of the Trojans by the Greeks during the Trojan War.

With all the men in the city dead, the women were all basically rounded up, taken and enslaved. The play runs 90 minutes with no intermission and is rated “R” for mature audiences for scenes of violence, abduction and enslavement.

“I am excited that this is the way we’re ending, because our first fully staged production was a Greek adaption with Prometheus reimagined. So, to be ending with another Greek, I think bookends our time here pretty nicely,” Connick said.

Connick’s adaptation is a modern take that involves three different adaptations put together:

“A translation of the script from the ‘50s, a modern translation that is about 10 years old, and excerpts from CNN transcripts from survivors from genocide recently,” he said.

In Connick’s adaptation, women play the soldiers. “It adds a little bit of a different dynamic to see women being forced to treat other women this way in the name of war and greed,” Connick said.

Montana Sertz, who plays the guard Rayanne in the play, talked about the difficulty of performing in a dark, tragic production. “The hard part of this play for a lot of people was emotion. It’s a long play and every ounce of your emotion has to be put into it.”

“I, the entire time have to be angry. I have to get my blood pumping, whereas the [Trojan] women the whole time, they have to be crying and devastated. It’s an emotionally and mentally draining show for the actors,” she continued.

Eric Reiche, who plays Poseidon, and Erika Krasneski, playing Athena, talked about the dynamics of the gods in the story. The gods introduce and conclude the performance with a narrative explaining the story.

Reiche and Krasneski spoke about some themes of the play, including the perils of war and greed.

Reiche said, “The fact that he [Connick] turned this play into this whole new take makes it more refreshing and more tragic that these women are telling these stories about their bodies, their lives, everything they knew being taken from them

and being forced away. “Having women on top of that being forced to pull that hand to change their lives, and kill their family members, it just kind of adds a whole other dark layer to this.”

“If you thought that a Greek tragedy couldn’t get any more tragic, introduce it to Rob’s flare of making darker things as dark as possible,” Reiche continued, while lightly chuckling.

Krasneski also talked about the dynamics of the show, stating, “Both of the gods who were on the Greek side, Hera and myself [Athena], were both women, goddesses; it’s kind of a double layer of irony that these Trojan women were suffering at the hands of other women.”

The show runs April 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. The show also runs April 23 and 30 at 2:30 p.m. in Diebold Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for EUP faculty, staff and non-EUP students, $3 for EUP students, and $5 for seniors.

Anna Ashcraft can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com. 

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