Anti-war play debuts on campus

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    By Sarah Bills

    While the United States dropped the first bombs on Iraq, many students, faculty, and community members watched “The Trojan Women” – often considered one of the most anti-war plays ever.

    “It is a representation of all the women and all casualties of war,” said Barta Heiner, director of “The Trojan Women.” “Whether they be dead or living, there are always casualties.”

    Heiner said though the play”s coinciding with the first bombs being dropped on Iraq was unintentional, she hoped the audience would consider the atrocities of war, whether they”re a hawk or a dove.

    In the face of world conflict, actors want to share their own perspectives and feelings with their audience, said Megan Pugmire, dramaturg for the play.

    “Ever since Sept. 11, the occurrence of the play has just skyrocketed,” she said.

    Theatre companies produce “The Trojan Women” to comment on the terrorist attacks, the bombing in Afghanistan and now war with Iraq, Pugmire said.

    Historically, Euripides wrote “The Trojan Women” in the fifth century, during the Peloponnesian War, as a means of criticizing the Greeks” massacring their enemies at Melos.

    “The Trojan Women” is one of the all-time great anti-war plays, said Eric Samuelsen, associate professor of theatre and media arts.

    “It asks us to put ourselves in the shoes of the victims of those we”ve just beaten,” he said.

    He said BYU”s production of the play doesn”t project the anti-war feeling as strongly as other productions he”s seen.

    “But as I watched the play, I found myself thinking of the fact that we”re bombing right now,” Samuelsen said.

    Samuelsen said he feels torn by the war. He said he has a good friend serving on the front lines in Kuwait, but he disagrees with America”s part in the war.

    “It is perfectly possible to support the troops and still believe this is an unjust war,” Samuelsen said.

    Ironically, the Theatre Department is showing a historically anti-war play in one theatre while they show “Archipelago,” a play about Josef Stalin and the consequences of a brutal dictator in another theatre.

    “If we are sending a mixed message, I think that”s great,” Samuelsen said.

    Universities should provide an environment where individuals can discuss contradictory thought, he said.

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