Euripides’ Antiwar Women of Troy

 Review by David Wootton:

The play itself is a wonderful opportunity. There was a rash of Greek tragedies on the West End stage to greet the Iraq war, and this is, as it were, intended to remind us that the war isn’t over.

Euripides’ play was written shortly after the Athenians had massacred the male population of Melos and enslaved the women, so it was profoundly topical when first performed. Indeed this play appears to attack everything most Greeks held dear. It is against war. It is against slavery – even the enslaving of barbarians. It is against the notion that women don’t really count.

Goodness knows what audiences made of it when they first saw it, but a left wing feminist director could hardly ask for a better opportunity. And Euripides can be translated into wonderful modern English, and can grip an audience by the throat – witness the wonderful recent Hecuba at the Donmar, which was everything that this production isn’t.

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