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Hecuba

Hecuba
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Timberlake Wertenbaker
Publisher: Dramatic Publishing
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 57
Pub. Date: 1996
ISBN-10: 0871296306
ISBN-13: 9780871296306

About the Play:

Hecuba is a full-length drama translated by Timberlake Wertenbaker from Euripedes' ancient Greek text. The tragedy of the former Queen of Troy, who, when exiled, plots to destroy all those who attempted to destroy her and her people. An elegant and fierce rendering of the classical theatre's most powerful tragedy of woman.

Euripides took up the hapless Queen of Troy as subject of a play that, until the 19th century, was one of his most popular. Set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, Hecuba, the widow of King Priam finds herself in the land of Thrace – her world turned upside down. Having watched the rape and pillage of Troy, Hecuba learns that she must sacrifice her daughter to the spirit of Achilles and that her youngest son has been murdered by the man who was meant to protect him. A slave of the Greeks, pursued by injustice she seeks a gruesome and terrible revenge.

As the San Jose Mercury News describes it, "Hecuba, the story of a noble spirit ravaged beyond redemption, is one of the first works of literature to look unsparingly at the aftermath of war. This was Euripides' great theme: neither gods nor an abstraction called fate, but we ourselves cause our own sorrows and have the means to redeem our lives. After the fall of Troy, Hecuba, now enslaved ... is told her daughter Polyxena must be sacrificed to appease the ghost of Achilles and to assure fair winds for the Greek fleet's return home. Wrenched to the breaking point, she is then driven over the edge when the body of her youngest son, Polydorus, washes up on the shore. He had been sent away for safekeeping to ... Polymestor. Hecuba takes revenge, blinding Polymestor and slaughtering his two young sons. In Hecuba, everything happens because of 'ananke,' conventionally translated as necessity. In this play, there are no impersonal gods dealing the tragic strokes that lash Hecuba into madness; instead, she is brought low by politics, expediency and greed. Many modernized versions of classic plays aim for timelessness; this one achieves it. Its people could be any refugees appealing to any conquerors for basic human rights."

Hecuba premiered in 1995 at American Conservatory Theater (commonly called ACT) in San Francisco, with Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis in the title role. The radio première of Wertenbaker's adaptation was broadcast in 2001 on BBC Radio 3.

Cast: 2 women, 4 men (chorus)

About the Playwright:

Timberlake Wertenbaker is a British playwright, screenplay writer, and translator, best known for her widely produced play Our Country's Good. Her background is as cosmopolitan as that of the variety of characters in her plays. She was born in the United States in 1951, and grew up in America and the French Basque region. She graduated from St. John's College in 1966, worked as a writer in New York, and taught French in Greece. In 1970 she moved to London where she began writing plays and working with several small theatre companies. Timberlake Wertenbaker is a British playwright who grew up in the Basque Country of France. She was Resident Writer for the Royal Court Theatre (1984-5).