The past and the present collide in Trojan Barbie, a play penned by Christine Evans outlining the various challenges faced by women over the course of history. The play ran from October 29-31 and was produced by the Victoria College Drama Society (VCDS).
Trojan Barbie juxtaposes contemporary drama against the backdrop of the mythology of the Trojan War. The play follows the story of an English doll-repairwoman named Lotte. While visiting the ruins of contemporary Troy on holiday, she is captured, and witnesses the fall of the ancient city.
One of the great successes of Trojan Barbie is its unique take on a familiar story. The play gives a voice to the women of history, who are typically dismissed or relegated to the sidelines. The majority of the play’s main characters are women from the time period, whose stories are not shared in traditional accounts.
The performance was well executed and professional. The show puttered along steadily, and with only very minor fumbles throughout; the individual performances from the actors were all very commendable.
Unfortunately, the play’s positive aspects were hampered by its awkward dialogue and obtuse act structure. At times, the melding of contemporary and historical dialect that Trojan Barbie aimed for came across as clumsy; the actors struggled with the unrealistic and overly dramatic dialogue, which came across as an issue with the script, rather than the performers. The dialogue was intended to be funny, and while the actors dedicated their entire performance to entertaining the audience, the play’s writing simply did not allow for a convincing delivery.
Similarly, the performance had nothing new or unique to say about the issues that it raised. Many dark and important themes were present to some extent, however none of them were truly analyzed or discussed with any real value. I found it unfortunate that such a promising and unique take on a classic story was ultimately let down by the absence of any clear direction on the part of the writing.
The VCDS put forth a valiant effort in bringing Trojan Barbie to U of T audiences. Everyone involved in the production did a commendable job — from the actors to those behind the scenes — which makes it all the more unfortunate they were let down by the source material itself.