Trojan Girls and the Outhouse of Atreus by Gillian Clark is a performance unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Expertly directed by Mitchell Cushman and produced in collaboration by Outside the March and Factory Theatre, in association with Neworld Theatre, Trojan Girls brilliantly explores the stories of the key players in Greek tragedy while being set in the 20th Century. The play takes place in two locations simultaneously with the actors playing different parts depending on the location. This is an extraordinary way to experience this gripping and heartbreaking story; truly deserving of the legendary characters who they portray.
When Factory Theatre and Outside the March first announced Trojan Girls and they listed it as an immersive performance I was definitely intrigued. How the production practically functions greatly surpassed my expectations. Because the play is being performed simultaneously in both locations, the cast moves back and forth from the outside to inside and back again, all the while doing costume changes because they need to be totally different characters in either location. This means that the actors fully run through the majority of the play twice per performance, with the audience only joining together for the finale. I was blown away by the stamina and adaptability of the cast and crew. As an audience member you can choose which side of the story you want to hear first, the “Adult” side (inside) or the “Kids” side (outside). I chose to see the “Adult” side of things first, to save the outside for when the sun had gone down and I could fully take in all of the lighting design and ambiance of the location. The delightful part is that there’s no right or wrong way to choose, you’ll still see the full story either way!
The cast of Trojan Girls is an incredible ensemble featuring Katherine Cullen, Liz Der, Sébastien Heins, Amy Keating, Elena Reyes, Cheyenne Scott, Merlin Simard, and Jeff Yung. They are truly a marvel; they brought humanity to these mythic figures and made them sympathetic characters we could connect with. You could clearly see the parallels to their classical counterparts, but they had a whole new life breathed into them by each actor in their modern portrayals. Each performance was nuanced and engaging, and there was never any question for me which character they were playing at any given time. It was simply stellar from start to finish!
I enjoyed the cyclical nature of the play, with repeated lines or props showing up on both sides of the performance. Like the Greek tragedies the play is modeled after, these patterns lead us to the inevitability of the ending, only to be ultimately protected by a textbook Deus Ex Machina moment. The writing cleverly weaves in elements of several well-known tragedies while also reminding us of the familial or familiar connections these characters would have with one another as they were all involved in or sprung from the events surrounding the Trojan War. But you certainly don’t have to be familiar with the mythology to fully enjoy this incredible play; they create such a riveting tale that you won’t be able to take your eyes away for a moment.
Honestly, I could go on and on about this incredible production, so you simply MUST go and see it for yourself. It is truly unlike anything I have ever witnessed and I was thrilled to experience this production. For more information and tickets, visit: Trojan Girls & The Outhouse of Atreus — Factory Theatre
Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh