Malden High School’s Play Production performed their third and final play of the school year, Trojan Women, on May 24th and 25th.
The play, The Trojan Women, is a Greek tragedy taking place immediately after the Greeks defeated the Trojans in the Trojan War. All the women left behind are to be used as sex slaves for the Greeks. Hecuba, the Queen of Troy, is left with her people to try and protect them and hold onto their last bits of hope. There is also Helen, whom many say is at fault for the Trojan War happening in the first place. The play focuses on the destruction and suffering of women and children who watch their city fall apart. The women in the end are then unfortunately met with facing slavery after being carried off into ships.
Director, Miranda Libkin, said they decided on this play because “it is a Greek tragedy, which is a style [they] hadn’t done in recent years and so [they] thought it’d be a really fun challenge.” She says it it also has “a lot of really big, fun, women's roles and [they have] a lot of talented girls [they] wanted to give opportunities to.” Libkin also says that they were “lucky enough to have gotten to the State Finals” after everything being so quick.
Libkin says the strengths of everyone has been “working really really hard and pushing [themselves] because these characters are going through life and death and [their] cast has not been in that situation before, so it was difficult for [them] to live realistically in that world.” They also had three students completely design the sound for the production, including “some original music” so everyone worked extremely hard in such little time.
Junior, Paige Pimental played Helen of Troy. She explains that her role is basically “a very long monologue and throughout [her] history of Play Pro [she has] become no stranger to monologues.”
Pimental described the process as being “a little difficult” and it is not only because of their lack of experience in working with Greek tragedies, but also the timing with “seniors leaving and exams, and field trips.” Despite the inconveniences, she stated that her favorite part of working on this play is “getting to take such a classic piece of art and put [their] own spin on it with music, sets, and costumes.”
Junior, Jenna Vanella, played Cassandra, Hecuba’s daughter. Vanella said her favorite part of the play was “the Chorus Girls because [they did] a phenomenal job. Each of [them had] different reactions to certain things, so it's really special to see how [they] develop throughout the play.”
She also says that “one of [her] weaknesses was not having the ability to really break out of [her] shell. It took [her] awhile to allow [herself] to play somebody who was out of their mind because [she] was afraid how everyone would react. After hearing positive responses, it got easier. It was also really helpful to have directors like Walsh and Libkin because [they] had total faith in [her], and really pushed [her] to play the part of Cassandra.” She also adds that she is “excited to see how next year will change” when she becomes a senior.
Junior, Michelle Chan as the role of Hecuba, the Queen of Troy, described to be a “mother-like figure.” She said that this was her first time as a lead. She never had to memorize more than a few lines for a show so memorization was “extremely difficult” for her. “[Her] strength individually was being able to easily put [herself] in a state of grieving similar to Hecuba and the strength of the cast was all the women in the play who so close and loving towards each other so that it could be seen through [their] performance.”
Chan also said that acting as Hecuba was “tiring.” After just the first 10 minutes, she was “already sweating buckets.” It was a “physically and emotionally demanding show.” It is also “nerve wracking” to be the lead as many of the other actors rely on you. It is a difficult role but “[she] loved the challenge.” “When [she gets] into character, [she truly feels] what Hecuba felt and a lot of the stress goes away.”
Junior, Leticia Sidney was one of two stage managers, who managed over tech and helped the directors with whatever they needed. She explained that “[she] thinks [she] was assigned to this job because [she] had a large role in [their] last production and needed to focus on school.”
Sidney said that she felt that “the process had been a bit chaotic and rushed, especially after [their] last play went on longer than usual because of finals. [They] had only several weeks to build a set, find costumes, memorize lines, find the right music and props, block the show, and much more”.
As a senior next year, Sidney will be expected to be “more of a leader” and “to make all new members of Play Pro feel welcome and a part of [their] family.” She stated that one of her major weaknesses were “often getting distracted from all the fun and the laughs that [they] have had together.”
Senior, Nathalia Sousa as one of the Chorus Leaders and says her favorite part of the play was “the little boy Collin Morano who played as Astyanax.” “It was so much fun working with [him]. [He] was so adorable and extremely cooperative.” She also loved the end because it’s all very intense; Chan’s character as Hecuba, decided that if the women were to be taken away, “[they] go out with a bang, with dignity.”
Sousa says that “[she] doesn’t think it’s hit [her] yet that this is [her] last show.” She has gotten emotional about it because she is just really satisfied with her three years in Play Production and four years at Malden High and she is okay with the fact that it’s coming to an end. It has been “bittersweet” because she knows this is the last time she will be performing on this stage, but Sousa is overall so grateful to this class for introducing her to something that she really loves, which is performing.
Overall, Play Pro has had a very successful year, and despite that the seniors are leaving, their memories together will be kept and the Play Production crew are looking forward to next year.