This staging is structured around a solitary old woman, sitting alone in a cemetery moments before her death, as she flashes back on the miserable fate of all families massacred by war. Their grim destiny, as evoked by the old woman, materializes on stage as the tale of The Trojan Women. For this reason, the only scenes that take place in real present time are the opening, when the old woman laments her fate to the gods, and the finale, when she pulls her few remaining household belongings out of a bundle. The text she speaks in these scenes is also taken from Euripides’ play The Trojan Women.
Suzuki Tadashi: My reasons for directing The Trojan Women are as follows
Unlike most Greek tragedies, The Trojan Women is oddly lacking in story. The key dramatic event, the fall of Troy, takes place well before the play begins. The scenes depict little more than the surviving women of Troy, gathered before the wreckage of their citadel, waiting to be ferried off to lives of slavery. As they ponder the wretched future that awaits them, their only action is a sustained lamentation of their plight. This is why some critics claim that, though the work is a “drama”, it contains nothing “dramatic”. As a theatre artist, however, I think nothing could be more dramatic than being forced to wait and imagine a wretched, unpredictable and inescapable fate. I reckon that many of us Japanese who experienced the defeat of World War II lived in a similar emotional state. It was pondering such notions that ultimately led me to choose this text. I wanted to see if, by casting the characters as Japanese survivors dwelling in the postwar ruins, I could, through their layered presence on stage, resuscitate the passions of The Trojan Women. It is my hope that, through this kind of double-exposure approach, I can reveal how our common human suffering transcends time and space, both in Japan and the Occident.
Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan.
Suzuki Tadashi is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT) based in Toga Village, located in the mountains of Toyama prefecture. He is the organizer of Japan’s first international theatre festival (Toga Festival) and the creator of the Suzuki Method of Actor Training.
Suzuki has articulated his theories in a number of books. A collection of his writings in English, “The Way of Acting” and “Culture is the Body” is published by the Theatre Communications Group in New York. He has taught his system of actor training in schools and theatres throughout the world, including The Juilliard School in New York, the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and the Moscow Art Theatre. Also, a book written on Suzuki titled “The Theatre of Suzuki Tadashi” is published by Cambridge University Press as part of their Directors in Perspective series, featurig leading theatre directors of the 20th Century.
These series include works on Meyerhold, Brecht, Strehler, Peter Brook and Robert Wilson among others. Suzuki has established in Toga one of the largest international theatre centers in the world. Surrounded by the beautiful wilderness of Toga, the facility includes six theatres, rehearsal rooms, offices, lodgings, restaurants, etc. Suzuki’s activities, both as a director creating multilingual and multicultural productions and as a festival producer bringing people from throughout the world together in the context of shared theatrical endeavor, reflect an aggressive approach to dealing with the fundamental issues of our times.