Anti-war play fi nds deep resonance with audience

What is there to say about the
newest UAA theatre production
“The Women Of.”? Not only
was the acting superb, but also the
stage itself was something to be in
awe over.
As one enters the Mainstage
Theatre of the Fine Arts Building,
the fi rst reaction is a subtle gasp
when one takes in the sight of a
desolate wasteland that the stage
has become. The forefront is
covered in rocks and what seems
to be cement slabs, while craggy
rock formations rise from behind.
And beyond that, there is the
illusion that this landscape goes
on forever, desolation pockmarked
with stalagmites.
What adds to the effect is the
broken blue lights of the set that
offset everything with a glum,
aged look. If “The Women Of.”
is supposed to be anti-war, the
set seems to capture it’s feelings
perfectly.
Everything goes pitch-black as
the play starts, and when a faint
blue light is restored to stage an
old woman stands in the back,
covered by a cloak. This is Hecuba,
the mythological queen of Troy.
Why is this? Well, “The Women
Of.” is based off of the old
Greek tragedy called “The Trojan
Women” by Euripides. It is also
an original collaboration of UAA
minds. Director David Edgecombe
wrote much of the material, but
also incorporated work from other
students, including a true story
from one of the actresses.
An accurate way of describing
the play is that it is a splintered set of
short stories and random moments
all arranged into a skewed collage
about the horrors of war. The
play is reminiscent of old Greek
dramas, including aspects such as
the chanting chorus of women who
often address the audience about
the issue of the play. Not only does
the play include monologues from
women about the damages of war
that affect them, but there is also
dialogue that represents the very
real horrors just as accurately.
“You never really get an entire
sense of what the [whole] show
looks like, and I still kind of don’t,”
actress Rebecca Mahar said.
The show is vague and
experimental and it encourages
one to wonder about what some
of the students went through to
prepare for the event.
Student Jaron Carlson plays
one of the three men in the play.
His role as a soldier is a cold and
heartless one, but at certain times
he is portrayed as a confused and
innocent young man.
“The character is different
every time because I play the
Danny character who is sensitive
and so I take off my helmet to kind
of get that feel. But the costume
really helps [with being the
soldier] and having the weapon in
hand helps the whole atmosphere,”
Carlson said.
The atmosphere of the play is
dark and depressing, but there are
some moments that stand out as
tender and emotional in contrast
to the dark and almost clinical
look at some segments of the play.
Actress Van Lee Crockett
was brought in from outside
the UAA atmosphere to act in
the play, and she made her own
contribution to the story line. Her
major monologue is her actual life
experience of leaving Vietnam for
safer lands.
“When I auditioned with my
monologue, it was the story that I
had written. Then David ended up
putting it in the play, and asked me
to be in it actually telling the story
as my part in the play,” Le Crockett
said, retelling why her personal
story had ended up onstage. “It’s
very collaborative and. engaging
for the audience because it changes
so much, but there’s an underlying
story interwoven through it.”
The bottom line is that “The
Women Of.” is a deep and
thoughtful play that almost
screams fl awlessness, and what
is more is that it is a collaborative
effort of UAA students and
faculty, even down to the script
itself, which is something to be
immensely proud of. Seeing “The
Women Of.” would be worth
every penny, and will be available
to audiences every weekend until
March 1. This is something that
should not be missed.