The Trojan Women
NCPA International Theatre Festival 2017
Tadashi Suzuki's Drama The Trojan Women
Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts - Theatre
Dates: June 22-24, 2017
Drama Trojan Women is based on the historical story taking place after the end of Trojan War in Homer’s Epic. This decade-long war is waged because Trojan Prince Paris follows the instruction of Aphrodite and seizes the most beautiful Greek woman: Spartan Princess Helen. Led by Agamemnon (King of Mycenae), kings and generals of various Greek states send troops to march towards Troy. Both parties are evenly matched. In the tenth year of this bitter war, Hector (Trojan general and also son of the king) is killed by the Greek general Achilles. Before long, Achilles also dies in battle. At last, Greek army makes use of Trojan Horse Trick, invades Troy City, and wins final victory of this war. Then conquerors launch the massacre and plundering of Troy.
Brilliant palace, which is worshipped at the beginning of this drama, has become ruins. Trojan women, who are reduced to prisoners of war, accompany Queen Hecuba and mourn for their deceased family members on the beach. However, after these tragic experiences, they have to once again part with the surviving relatives. The ghost of Achilles fails to enjoy the deserved sacrifices, and it hinders Greek army from setting sail. His son Piros argues with the Greek general Agamemnon, and insists on following his father's wish to sacrificing Trojan Princess Polyxena at the grave of Achilles. They invite army sorcerer to ask for god prophecy, and obtain the god prophecy that in addition to killing of Trojan Princess Polyxena, Trojan general Hector’s son, who is the last little prince of Trojan royal family, should be also killed. In the dream, Andromache is informed by the husband Hector’s soul to hide the son inside the grave of Hector. Interrogated by the Greek general Ulysses, Andromache helplessly calls out the little son to appear from the grave, and desperately sees him going away with Greece people.
Subsequently, Helen, who triggers Trojan War, lies that Achilles' son Piros wants to marry Bo Polyxena, and advises her to put on the wedding dress. Polyxena scowls, and Andromache also scolds Helen and sees through that there may be a dirty trick. Then Helen has to tell the truth: the Greeks intend to kill Polyxena as sacrifice in the grave of Achilles. Hecuba is nearly fainted when hearing that. But Polyxena has facial expression of joy. She would rather be the sacrificed princess than a slave seized by Greeks.
Finally, in the siege of the Greek victors, subjugated Trojans sigh that “Girl dies, so does the little boy”. The grandmothers, mothers and sisters express the endless grieves of their beloved ones, carry a handful of national land, and set foot on the fate journey for the ambiguous future.
Assistant Director: FANG Xin
Lighting: DAN Yucheng
Subtitles: Kunimoto Saki, Yamamura Takeyoshi
Producers: Shigemasa Yoshie, Tsutamori Kosuke, Sonoda Shoko
Image: Fujimoto Yasuhiro
Old woman, Hecuba and Cassandra: Saito Maki
Warriors and Greek soldiers: Takemori Yoichi, Ueta Daisuke, Ishikawa Haruo
Old men, women, and Trojans: Hiragaki Takato, Kito Risa, Takeuchi Daiki, Iizuka Yuki
Man in the wheel chair: Kato Masaharu
Creative - Tadashi Suzuki
Tadashi Suzuki is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT) based in Toga village, located in the mountains of Toyama prefecture. He is the organizer of Japan’s first International Theatre Festival (Toga Festival), and the creator of the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. Suzuki also plays an important role with several other organizations. He is the General Artistic Director of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (1995-2007), a member of the International Theatre Olympics Committee, a founding member of the BeSeTo Festival (jointly organized by XU Xiaozhong from China and Kim Eui Kyung from Korea), the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Japan Performing Arts Foundation, a nation-wide network of theatre professionals in Japan (2000-2010).
Suzuki’s work includes On the Dramatic Passions, The Trojan Women, Dionysus, King Lear, Cyrano de Bergerac, Madame de Sade and many others. Besides productions with his own company, he has directed several international collaborations, such as The Tale of Lear, co-produced and presented by four leading regional theatres in the U.S.; King Lear presented with the Moscow Art Theatre; Oedipus, co-produced by Cultural Olympiad and Düsseldorf Schauspiel Haus; and ELECTRA, produced by the Taganka Theatre, Moscow.
Suzuki has articulated his theories in a number of books. A collection of his writings in English, The Way of Acting is published by Theatre Communications Group (U.S.). He has taught his system of actor training in schools and theatres throughout the world, including The Julliard School in New York and the Moscow Art Theatre. The Cambridge University Press published The Theatre of Suzuki Tadashi as part of their Directors in Perspective series, based upon leading theatre directors of the 20th Century. This series includes works on, among others, Meyerhold, Brecht, Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine, and Robert Wilson.
Suzuki is also a seminal thinker and practitioner. Suzuki’s primary concerns include: the structure of a theatre group, the creation and use of theatrical space, and the overcoming of cultural and national barriers in the interest of creating work that is truly universal.
Suzuki’s activities, both as a director creating multilingual and multicultural productions, as well as a festival producer bringing people from throughout the world together in the context of shared theatrical endeavours, reflect an aggressive approach to dealing with the fundamental issues of our times.
Presenter - SCOT
In 1976, Tadashi Suzuki relocated his theatre troupe - the Waseda Shogekijo - from its home in central Tokyo to Toga, a remote village in the mountains of western Japan. Working from a thatched-roof house, built in the traditional “praying hands” or gassho-zukuri style, which the group had converted into a theatre, they renamed themselves the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT).
Since then the site has grown into a complex of lodgings, rehearsal rooms, and assorted performing spaces, including an indoor playhouse, a second gassho-zukuri theatre, a black box theatre, an outdoor “rock” theatre, and a spectacular lakeside amphitheatre. It is in these facilities and theatres that the company is run, following the precepts of Tadashi Suzuki and under his direction.
Following Suzuki’s notions of the universality of theatre, this special location played host for many years (1982-1999) to the concentrated workshops in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training created by Suzuki and being learnt by performing artists throughout the world, and invited theatre companies from around the world not only to give performances but to live, work, and collaborate with each other. And while acknowledging each other’s cultural similarities and differences, the stimulus provided by such encounters spawned entirely new notions of theatre and undoubtedly many new forms of culture.
Toga village has also served as springboard for the international activities of SCOT. Many of the theatrical productions developed and performed in Toga have gone on to tour the globe. Since their first overseas performance at the Théâtre des Nations Festival in Paris in 1972, the company has performed in 84 cities in 31 countries. In addition to offering a summer and winter festival, featuring performances by SCOT, Toga continues to serve as a center for international research activities and for the training of practitioners in the performing arts, as well as an archive of documents and materials pertaining to the performing arts.