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Trojan Women: JCTC Reinvents Classic Tragedy for Today’s Times

originally published: 10/19/2018

Trojan Women: JCTC Reinvents Classic Tragedy for Today’s Times

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) presents Trojan Women, a multimedia and multilingual adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy reimagined for today’s turbulent times. Trojan Women  opens Friday November 2nd for an 11-show run that closes on Sunday November 18 at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City. Tickets are $25 ($15/ Student and Senior Discount – must show valid ID).

This multimedia production – directed by Olga Levina, Artistic Director of JCTC – features a diverse cast of more than 15 actors with nearly as many additional artists as part of the production crew. These talented individuals include artists of international stature as well as those with regional renown. 

Some of the members include actors such as Tatyana Zbirovskaya, who worked in Russian theater before emigrating to the U.S. in the 1990s, Mahalet Dejene, an Ethiopian-born actress now working in the U.S., Aizzah Fatima, a Pakistani actress & playwright whose one-woman show Dirty Paki Lingerie has toured internationally and Sylvana Joyce, a local legend famous as the leader of the Jersey City-based Gypsy pro-rock band, Sylvana Joyce & The Moment.

The crew contains an equally impressive array of talent such as multimedia artists Laia Cabrera  and Isabella Duverger, who have won awards both in New York and Europe; Ekaterina Abramova an artist whose work is featured in museums and collections throughout the world and Frank Ippolito, a Jersey City-based artist and designer recently retired from a decades long career as a Museum of Natural History artist.

This extraordinary ensemble transformed the intimate, black box theater at Merseles Studios into a surreal dreamscape that brings new life to this timeless saga about the resilience and strength of women. “JCTC has  gathered an amazing mix of global and local talent because you need a cast and crew this diverse to truly spark a conversation about the ways “the other” is dehumanized through prejudice, oppression and violence in society,” said Levina. 



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Based on “The Trojan Women”  by Euripides, the play depicts the aftermath of the Greek/Trojan war  and the brutal occupation of Troy by the victorious Greek soldiers, who after slaughtering all the men, brutally assault the captured woman and separate them from their children. 

Will these only survivors of Troy be massacred as well, forced into marriage or slavery made to live like refugees in their devastated city, subject to the whims and desires of the occupying soldiers? Historians may trace the original Trojan Women, to 415 BC, but the timeless themes of oppression, displacement and resistance have never been more relevant. 

A major theme of Trojan Women is anti-violence – and with violence of all kinds still prevalent   – shootings, domestic violence, clashes between police and protestors and ongoing war in the Mideast – the JCTC production truly is a play for the way we live now. “Violence seems to be growing nationally, internationally and to be honest, locally as well,” said Levina. “Violence is touching all our lives and we need to truly understand and discuss the affect it is having so we can try and put a stop to it, or at least decrease it.” 

The play also conveys the violence and trauma of war. The multilingual approach replicates the alienation of war where miscommunication usually increases the suffering of victims. When casting the play, JCTC looked for actors fluent in a foreign language; 15 different languages are spoken in Trojan Women, although the majority of the dialogue spoken by the invading Greek soldiers is in English. This use of multiple languages enhances the realism of the play, while action, movement and projections help convey the story.

Since 2014, JCTC has presented and produced a range of theatre, dance, and readings known for being cutting-edge, provocative and relevant. With nontraditional set design, utilizing multimedia components of video, photography, performance art and sound-scaping, Trojan Women is an immersive experience that transcends conventional rules of drama, expands the classic text with contemporary monologues and breaks through the proverbial 4th Wall. JCTC has brought together a diverse team of artists from multiple disciplines and cultural backgrounds to create a Trojan Women for 21st century audiences. 

Jersey City Theater Center is located at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey. 

PHOTO: Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. Photograph by Bang Chau





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