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Theater & Dance
What you need to know for 08/22/2017

Acting company turns to classic Euripides play

Acting company turns to classic Euripides play

Kat Broadus loves working with artists such as Shakespeare and others like him; writers whose materi
Acting company turns to classic Euripides play
Antwaun Sims is Menelaus and Kat Broadus is Helen in a scene from the Classical Theater Guild production of 'The Trojan Women,' opening Friday at the troupe's new performance venue at 137 State St. in Schenectady. (Khalid Nixon)

Kat Broadus loves working with artists such as Shakespeare and others like him; writers whose material has withstood the test of time.

Falling into that category for Broadus is the ancient Greek playwright Euripides, who first produced “The Trojan Women” in 415 B.C. The Classic Theater Guild and Broadus will offer their take on the classic Greek work over the next two weekends at its new performance space at 137 State St. in Schenectady. Broadus is directing and performing in the play, which is Euripides’ third tragedy in a trilogy of work centered around the Trojan War.

“Everybody knows the story of the Trojan War and the horse and Helen,” said Broadus. “This is what happens after the war is over. It’s a story that is not told often enough. We always have plays about these great wars and battles, but rarely do we get something about the toll it took on civilians. This play is about the aftermath, and the people who have had the war brought to their doorstep.”

Lucy Breyer plays Hecuba, the queen, and Kristen Van Steemburg is her daughter, Cassandra. They are two of the primary characters making up the cast of 11, which also includes Amanda Boyer as Athena, Peter Lavenia as Talthybius and Antwuan Sims as Menelaus. Broadus is playing Helen, and is serving as a late replacement for the original actor who had to miss the show due to illness.

’The Trojan Women’

WHERE: Classic Theater Guild, 137 State St., Schenectady

WHEN: Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through March 9; performances at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: $12

MORE INFO: 387-9150, www.classicaltheaterguild.com

“We tried to replace her as quickly as we could,” said Broadus, “but it seemed like everybody was already involved in something else. I said, ‘I’m here all the time; I’ll give it a shot.’ Everyone knows Helen of Troy, but in this play it’s a small part.”

Broadus grew up in the Capital Region and attended Shaker High School and the University at Albany where she was involved in both theater programs.

At Shaker, she worked under the direction of Phil Rice, a longtime English teacher at the school who now is one of the busiest actors and directors in the Capital Region.

“We are Facebook friends and we remain in touch,” Broadus said of Rice. “He was a big inspiration to me and a big part of my formative years, so I’m always going back to him for advice.”

Broadus, who will turn 27 later this year, has performed at various theaters in the Capital Region, including Steamer No. 10 in Albany and with the Classic Theater Guild at Proctors’ Fenimore Gallery. Most recently she played Rachel in “Inherit the Wind.”

Late addition

The decision to produce “The Trojan Women” was made midway through 2013 according to Broadus.

“It was a last-minute addition to our season, but it’s a play and a story that I really love,” she said. “I wanted to do a domain play that wasn’t Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare, and I’m a classic junkie. Shakespeare may be my favorite, but we already do a lot of Shakespeare, so I said, ‘in place of that, let’s do a Greek tragedy.’

“It’s something different. It’s a major part of Western literature, and Euripides is the foundation for modern Western drama.”

The play is relatively short, lasting about two hours with an intermission. Also in the cast are Brian Toal as Poseidon, Mandy Bova as Andromache and Valerie Story as a member of the chorus.

Helping turn the new venue into an intimate theater space with 30 seats is set designer Herbert Newsome. A native of New York City, Newsome spent four years at the University at Albany and then earned an MFA at Penn State.

“When we’re at Proctors, our tech day consists of building the set because obviously they’re busy using the space most of the time,” said Broadus.

“We can feel a little more comfortable about what we’re doing here because we can put together a few run-throughs before we actually do the show. In that way, there’s a little less pressure on us.”

Having fun

Pressure, however, isn’t a word Broadus uses that often. She loves what she’s doing.

“I love the idea of entertaining people with a great story they’ll never forget,” said Broadus. “I’m having a lot of fun.”

While Classic Theater Guild president Amanda Stankavich said the group is excited to be performing in its own intimate space, it will very likely continue to be a partner with Proctors.

“We love working with Proctors and we hope we’ll be able to do our big Christmas show there next year,” said Stankavich, who, along with three friends, formed the company 10 years ago. “Now we’re embarking on a new challenge, creating a space that delivers to the audience the full extent of the theatrical experience. They are immersed into the action that happens all around them, feeling like they are a part of the play itself.”

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

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