The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings

Search Curtainup








NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
Cry, Trojans!(Troilus and Cressida)

This is, and is not, Cressida. .— Troilus
Cry, Trojans
(Photo: Hugo Glendinning/RSC)
The Wooster Group turned forty this year and continues to boldly push the theatrical envelope with experimental work. Currently its Cry, Trojans! (Troilus & Cressida), an adaptation of their 2012 co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company, entitled Troilus & Cressida, at Stratford-upon-Avon and at Riverside Studios in London.

Cry Trojans! (without the Royal Shakespeare) is a hit-and-miss staging of the Bard's most cynical (and impossible-to-categorize) play. Helmed by Elizabeth LeCompte, the company's founder (with Spalding Gray), it's a reworking of the original collaborative project so that it emphasizes the Trojan side of the tale. LeCompte morphs the Trojans into Native Americans. In collaboration with Folkert de Jong and Delphine Courtillot who have designed culturally complementary sets and costumes (with fractured Greek statues Surreally grafted onto plate armour), she evokes a Native American tribe and their habitat.

The Greeks are not altogether jettisoned from this retooled work. The troupe appropriates the characters from the Greek camp by wearing simple masks, a traditional technique. LeCompte adds a multi-media dimension to the action via video loops of the original co-production, projected on screens above the stage. It's all reminiscent of the company's Hamlet, staged in 2007 and 2012, which incorporated a recorded video of Richard Burton's 1964 Broadway stage performance of the great classic. However, the videos in this new piece are less effective and prove to be more distracting than anything else to the actual performance.

Although I didn't see the original collaborative effort with the Royal Shakespeare Company, its partial credits included in the program. And, along with several replacements in supporting roles, the major casting difference at St. Ann's is that company member Kate Valk steps in for Marin Ireland as Cressida. Playing opposite Scott Shepherd, Valk inhabits Cressida with meticulous craftsmanship but little passion. And if there's one vital ingredient that any Troilus and Cressida needs to catch fire, it is this raw quality In short, this current staging is animated more by stylization than spontaneity. And without real chemistry sparking between Valk and Shepherd in the eponymous roles, one gets the gist of the Troilus and Cressida story but not the full dramatic impact of how their love became corrupted by their circumstances.

If Cry, Trojans! isn't emotionally sizzling, LeCompte does manage to capture this bleak play's profound cynicism and black humor. For who can forget Pandarus (Greg Mehrten), that bawdy character who lends his name to history (Let all pitiful goers-between be called to the world's end after my name: call them all panders.") Or the deformed Greek slave Thesites (Greg Hehrten),who appears on stage in a mini-wheelchair and is the picture of all human diseases?

There were conspicuously vacant seats after intermission. But no matter how any stage director slices or dices this uncongenial classic, it has never been a crowd-pleaser and the Wooster Group's latest experiment is not a home run.

Cry, Trojans!(Troilus and Cressida) by William Shakespeare
Adaptation by the Wooster Group
Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte Cast: Ari Fliakos (Varlet/Hector/Diomedes/), Greg Mehrten (Pandarus/Prim/Thersites, Andrew Schneider (Aeneas/Ulysses), Scott Shepherd (Troilus/Calchas/Agamemnon/Achilles, and Kate Valk (Cressida/Helen);  with Koosil-ja (Andromache), Suzzy Roche (Cassandra), Casey Spooner (Antenor/Ajax), Jim Fletcher (Paris on April 1-19/The Myrmidons) and Eric Dyer (Paris on March 24-31, The Myrmidons).
Set elements, props, and costumes: Folkert de Jong
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton
Sound score: Bruce Odland
Running Time:  Approx. 150 minutes, including intermission
St. Ann's Warehouse, 29 Jay Street, Brooklyn
From 3/24/15; closing 4/19/15
Reviewed by Deirdre Donovan at the performance on March 31st.
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Cry, Trojans!(Troilus and Cressida)
  • I disagree with the review of Cry, Trojans!(Troilus and Cressida)
  • The review made me eager to see Cry, Trojans!(Troilus and Cressida)
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter
Subscribe to our FREE email updates: E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message. If you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
The New Similes Dictionary
New Similes Dictionary

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

©Copyright 2015, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from