Charles L. Mee’s “The Trojan Women: A Love Story”

Authored by Sarah West

Newspaper clipping from The Village Voice of an advertisement for Mee’s “The Trojan Women: A Love Story.”

This advertisement ran in the Village Voice on July 9th, 1996. Charles L. Mee authored the play, and it was directed by Tina Landau. The play was a twist on Euripides’ The Trojan Women, Virgil’s Aenid, Hector Berlioz’s Les Troyens and “modern day” pop-culture (Brantley 1996).  It followed the story of  Aeneas and his men who leave Troy and sail to Italy. They are lost at sea and end up in Carthage. Here he meets and  falls in love with Dido. Where this play differs from its inspiration, Dido does not die in this play.

The play as a whole speaks to universal and timeless issues that include the horrors of war, toxic masculinity, and gender-based violence (Mee 1996). In the opening scenes of the show, there is talk of violence against women and even rape. While the story in many places is not pretty, it brings awareness of the horrible things that come as a product of war. It is easy to gloss over these ideas because it is based on a Greek tragedy, but these crimes still happen today. This show as it blends the 90s, with that of our world’s ancient past, brings truth and awareness to the way women are treated during times of conflict. The Gulf War, which happened in the early 90s, had a slew of rapes and war crimes against women (Lancaster 1992). This play seeks to bring to light to horrible acts that still perforate through our society today.

The production was produced by En Garde Arts and preformed at the East River Park Amphitheater. En Garde Arts was a production company founded by Anne Hamburger who’s goal was The goal of En Garde Arts was to put on challenging theatrical productions in “…spaces whose architectural beauty has been long ignored or forgotten” (Harris 1996). At this time, the East River Park Amphitheater was in ruins. It was closed by the Lindsay Administration in 1973 and fell to ruins (NYC Parks 2018). While in disarray and disaster, En Garde Arts decided it was the perfect location for a production. While tickets to see the show were $25 dollars, the cast of 33 virtually worked for free (Harris 1996).

 

 

References

Brantley, Ben. 1996. “An Epic War Resolved With a Gershwin Ditty.” New York Times, July 3, 1996.

Harris, William. 1996. “Out Of The Ruins, A New Drama Finds A Home.” Sunday Star-Ledger, June 16, 1996.

Lancaster, John. 1992. “24 Women Assaulted on Gulf Duty.” Washington Post, July

21, 1992.

NYC Parks. n.d. “John V. Lindsay East River Park.” Accessed February 23, 2018. https://

www.nycgovparks.org/parks/east-river-park

Mee, Charles L. 1996. The Trojan Women: A Love Story, Script. New York: En Garde Arts.

Performance.

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