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Heath Players to host open auditions for Women of Troy

Entertainment / Sat 28th Dec 2019 pm31 12:15pm

Open Auditions – Women of Troy-an adaptation by Chrissie Waites

8.00pm-10.00pm Friday 3 January 2020
11.00am-1.00pm Sunday 5 January 2020

Hatfield Heath Village Hall

Heath Players are holding casting auditions for our spring production.

THOUSANDS of years ago, the ancient city of Troy fell to the Greeks, after almost ten years of war. With the city besieged and destroyed, the Women of Troy had no homes to return to – and no one to fight for them.

In a women’s psychiatric hospital, Troy Ward has been shut down, and the patients are being re-assigned elsewhere. Reeling from the news that they are to be ripped from their home, the Women of Troy are waiting. Clinging to each other for comfort, the women try not to fall apart as they wonder what might be in store for them. One by one, they are taken away to their new wards, with no idea what to expect.

A new interpretation of Euripides’ famous tragedy, The Women of Troy is a story of love and loss, strength and despair; loyalty, cruelty and madness.

Cast is three men (Menelaus, Poseidon and Talthybius) and eight women (three larger roles Hecuba, Melpomene and Calliope) and five smaller (this might permit some doubling).

Playing ages are generally fluid but Hecuba is an older woman and Helen younger.

This is a newly written script, so may develop throughout rehearsals.

Performances will be 19-21 March at Hatfield Heath Village Hall and cast will be expected to be available to rehearse each night of production week from 15 March.

We have also entered the play into Hertford Theatre Week and if we are accepted we will perform at Hertford Theatre on one night (to be advised) during the week 20-25 April

Rehearsal dates will be agreed with the cast but in the past we have generally gone for Monday and Thursday evenings with some Sundays if required.

An excerpt of the script is attached below. If you would like the full script or have any other questions please email [email protected] or ring Mark on 01279 503174.

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SCENE 1

POSEIDON is pacing and talking to himself.

POSEIDON: Look at this. This travesty. My life’s work is in ruins. I practically built this place; it was nothing before me. I took the job here when I was just a junior doctor. I slaved away day after day to make this place what it is, and this is the thanks I get?

Just look. Look at these vultures picking at the corpse of everything I’ve built. These barbarians taking credit for all my achievements. How dare they. This is my ward! They’ve stolen it from me.

When I first arrived, this was nothing more than a pile of rubble. I set to work, and built this ward from the ground up. I wanted to make a name for this place as an institution that cared about the welfare of its patients, not just a place for them to be locked away out of sight. I wanted to be a doctor who made his patients better.

It was successful, of course, but I was ahead of my time. People either wanted to join me or overthrow me. Sometimes both. I had to be careful who I trusted, but for a while my caution seemed to be paying off.

And then it was ruined.

I suppose it wasn’t his fault, you could chalk it up to overambition. A young doctor trying to make a name for himself with a complex case, except the patient in question was assigned to a far more senior doctor. It was an insult, plain and simple. And to bring her here… devastating.

Almost ten years they’ve laid siege to this place. Quietly waiting for a lapse in control. A chink in the armour. Whether what Paris did was the true reason for the attack, or just a convenient excuse, it doesn’t matter. What matters is they finally got in.

They just needed a well-timed scandal to force their way in. Or someone to unlock the gate. I’m sure this was an inside job. Someone I trusted invited the enemy inside.

And now they carry off my patients as if they were plundering a great city. My inner circle is gone. My halls are empty. Poor Priam, I’m glad he didn’t live to see this. It would break his heart.

And now it’s all gone. Everything I’ve worked for has been torn from me. Only the women remain. The poor, broken women. What will happen to them? It doesn’t matter now. There is nothing more I can do for them.

Troy has fallen.

SCENE 2

PALLAS enters.

PALLAS: Poseidon.

POSEIDON turns, sees it is PALLAS and turns to leave.

PALLAS: No, stay. Please. I have to talk to you about something. Please, hear me out.

POSEIDON: Politeness today is it, Pallas?

PALLAS: Can we just put our differences aside for a moment? Hear me out.

POSEIDON: What is it, then? Please be brief – I have somewhere to be.

PALLAS: It’s about Troy.

POSEIDON: And what would you have to say about Troy? There’s hardly anything left of it as it is.

PALLAS: I won’t insult you by pretending to regret the circumstances. It’s no secret that I disagree with your methods.

POSEIDON: Why would you? It’s mostly thanks to you that it lies in ruins. Your people are in charge of it now.

PALLAS: Yes. But something must be done about them.

POSEIDON: What do you mean? You appointed them.

PALLAS: I know.

POSEIDON: So now, what? You want them punished?

PALLAS: I do.

POSEIDON: For someone who values reason so highly, aren’t you being rather unreasonable?

PALLAS: They are an insult to me. They are an insult to the entire institution. What they’ve done is unforgivable.

POSEIDON: Done?

Pause.

PALLAS: To Cassandra. They pulled her out by her hair and- I can’t even repeat the unspeakable things they did. God knows what they’ll do to the other women if left unchecked.

POSEIDON: (grimly) I see. In that case, they will face the consequences of their actions.

PALLAS: You’ll help me?

POSEIDON: Of course. They have crossed a line that should never be crossed. You have my full support.

PALLAS: Thank you. I have already gone to the Chairman of the Board, but I needed someone else of your seniority to stand with me.

POSEIDON: It shall be done. Let me know what you need.

PALLAS nods. They both exit.

SCENE 3

Hecuba is lying on the sofa. She slowly gets up as she talks. She is visibly agitated, and moves and speaks erratically.

As she speaks, the other women in the room move closer and listen to what she says.

HECUBA: Up you get, poor old Hecuba. Fallen Hecuba. Sunk to your knees. But be patient – you may not be so low forever. You must wait. Bide your time. Don’t act out, don’t swim against the current. When Fate wants to destroy you, you can’t stand in its way. Let it bring you grief.

So much grief. All the grief in all the world is mine. I was a Queen. I bore strong sons, graceful daughters. I loved my husband. But where are they now? I don’t know. They have been torn from me.

I have wept enough to fill a thousand oceans, but I can weep no more. There are no tears left. I must mourn in silence. But- no. What have I got left but a voice? I cannot stay silent. So I shall sing.

Sing with me, Women of Troy. Let us bear our grief together.

The women sing.

MELPOMENE: Hecuba, you have broken our hearts with your sorrow. Let us help. Tell us what you want us to do.

HECUBA: There is nothing to be done.

MELPOMENE: There must be!

HECUBA: No. There is nothing to do but wait, and see what they have in store for us.

CALLIOPE: I see men coming! Everyone, quick, come here!

HECUBA: No, not everyone. Not Cassandra. Keep her away.

MELPOMENE: What will they do? What punishment is in store for us today?

HECUBA: Think the worst. It will be that. (to herself) Slaves. All of us. But where today? Who’s beck and call will I answer? Or will I be confined to the kitchen, baking endless loaves of bitter bread? Pitiful women, all of us. Dragging out our last few miserable days in this place, wearing nothing but rags where there once were riches. I was a Queen. Now I am nothing.

CALLIOPE: Every member of my family is dead. My home burned to the ground. I can still smell the flames. I can feel the ash in my lungs.

MELPOMENE: There might be worse yet to come.

ILIA: (muttering to herself) Be quiet. Be quiet. Don’t raise your head. Don’t look them in the eyes. Don’t speak.

MELPOMENE: Maybe I’ll be sent to Attica. They say it’s not so bad there.

CALLIOPE: Anything would be better than Sparta, where Helen swans around triumphant and I’d have to obey Menelaus.

The CHORUS and HECUBA visibly react to the mention of MENELAUS.

ILIA: (muttering) Be quiet. Don’t say that name. Don’t think it. Butcher of Troy.

MELPOMENE: Who is this coming?

CALLIOPE: I haven’t seen him before. He must be new.

MELPOMENE: He’s coming to tell us what they’re going to do with us.

CALLIOPE: We belong to them now. Even in our own land we are slaves.

SCENE 4

TALTHYBIUS enters. All the women except HECUBA shrink back. He looks nervous and agitated.

TALTHYBIUS: Hecuba, I assume? My name is Talthybius, I’ve been sent to deliver a message to you and the other women.

HECUBA: We have been expecting you.

TALTH: I’ve been sent to tell you about the plans for your future here.

HECUBA: And how does our future look?

TALTH: The decision has been made to separate you. You will be assessed based on your history and current status, and relocated accordingly.

HECUBA: So we are all to be treated exactly alike? With no special exceptions made for anyone?

TALTH: Well, not exactly. There are a few extenuating circumstances.

HECUBA: For who?

Pause. TALTHYBIUS looks uncomfortable.

HECUBA: Cassandra.

TALTH: Yes. Dr Agamemnon wants to treat her personally.

HECUBA: (disgusted) I bet he does.

TALTH: He believes that under his care she could make a full recovery.

HECUBA: Ha! Recovery! Is that what he calls it? We have a different name for it here.

MELPOMENE: Torture.

CALLIOPE: Lechery. Rape.

TALTH: He’s a leader in his field. She would be lucky to receive such expert treatment.

HECUBA: Oh Cassandra, poor Cassandra. Throw away the Temple keys my dear; they won’t let you back in after his hands have been all over you.

TALTH: You should not speak of a senior doctor in that way.

HECUBA: And what of Polyxena? Who’s lecherous grip has she fallen into?

TALTH: Polyxena was assigned to Dr Achilles.

HECUBA: I thought Dr Achilles retired?

TALTH: He did. He is treating her privately. She is incredibly fortunate, I can assure you. All you women are.

HECUBA: Fortunate, the forgotten women of Troy? In what way are we fortunate? Do we see the sky, or lie under the stars? Do we wander in the woods, or sleep by a warm fire at night? We are displaced. Stuck in this endless cycle of nights and days. Cut off from the world.

TALTH: The world is not kind to women like you. We’ve given you shelter here.

HECUBA: (wearily) I suppose that’s true.

Pause.

HECUBA: What about Andromache?

TALTH: Because of her status, and the nature of her case, it was deemed she would be most suited to the care of Dr Achilles’ son.

CALLIOPE: Poor Andromache.

MELPOMENE: Such a fragile thing.

HECUBA: And what about me?

TALTH: Dr Odysseus has agreed to take you on as his patient.

HECUBA: Odysseus! That two-bit shrink! Oh Women of Troy, weep for your Queen!

MELPOMENE: What about us?

CALLIOPE: What’s to happen with us?

TALTH: I’m not sure. Someone else will be along with the rest of your re-assignments. For now, I need to fetch Cassandra, Agamemnon is keen to start working with her right away.

Pause. TALTHYBIUS notices something offstage.

TALTH: Wait, what’s that? Is something burning? Please don’t tell me you’ve turned Troy into a funeral pyre to slow down the process! The paperwork would be endless.

MELPOMENE: (Laughing) It’s clear you’re new around here.

HECUBA: It’s no pyre. It’s just Cassandra.

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