Phoenix Theatre’s show puts the spotlight on women—on and off the stage

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The online theater world hasn’t been losing steam. In fact, while gearing up for in-person shows, most creative organizations have amped up their digital footprint. The Phoenix Theatre in Chester Springs for example has decided to celebrate Women’s History Month with a one-night-only performance of Euripides’ ‘The Trojan Women’, which will also act as a fundraiser for a Washington D.C. organization that helps female survivors of human trafficking. The digital curtain will rise next Thursday, March 25 at 7 p.m. 

The plot of the play follows the classic story as audiences learn the fates of Hecuba, Andromache, Cassandra and other women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and their remaining families about to be taken away as slaves. This particular production has been hailed as one of Euripides’ greatest works, and for the Phoenix’s one-night-only production, ‘The Trojan Women’ will be directed by The Phoenix Theatre’s Co-Founder and Development Director Jessica Myhr Reich. 

“The women of Troy are left to mourn the deaths of their husbands and sons. They watch the city of Troy burn around them,” said Myhr Reich in a statement. “With all the civil unrest in America, this is our war now. The protests, the violence, the vigilantes. History keeps repeating itself. That is why this remains one of the best anti-war plays ever written.”

Becca Stehle as Helen. Provided

According to the release, the cast of the Phoenix’s latest show includes Theatre Managing Director Michael Hajek as Poseidon, Phoenix Theatre Virtual Artist-in-Residence Katrina Hall as Athena, Zuleyma Guevera as Hecuba (TV: “Limitless,” “Gotham,” “Designated Survivor”), James Rana as Talythbius (Broadway: “The Band’s Visit,” TV: “Chicago Fire,” “Madam Secretary”), Phoenix Theatre Company member Lydia Joy Carswell as Cassandra, Marguerite Stimpson as Andromache (Broadway: “The Elephant Man,” “Butley.” TV: “Billions,” “Little America,” “Blue Bloods.”), Charvez Grant as Menelaus, and Becca Stehle as Helen. The chorus is Angie Henderson, Ontaria Kim Wilson, Hannah Cohen and Juanita Londono Restrepo.

Joining Reich behind the scenes is Stephan Moravski as the Virtual Background Designer, Seth Reich as the Composer and Sound Designer, Marcus Barainyak as the Technical Director, Andrés Gallardo as Choreographer and Video Designer and Michael Howson as the Stage Manager. 

“I chose ‘The Trojan Women’ because I felt it was a wonderful way to honor Women’s History Month and the struggle we have all had surviving this pandemic for an entire year,” continued Mhyr Reich. “The message of survival is powerful and how these strong female characters continue to fight for tomorrow. The language is beautiful, epic and visceral. It’s different from Shakespeare – you feel a Greek play in your gut. I hope to create an interesting landscape of Troy with text, movement and sound. We have all made sacrifices this year, and dealt with loss. When hope seems lost, like with these Trojan Women, we must find the strength to carry on.”

Tickets are pay what you can with a suggested donation of $20 a household, and a portion of the money raised going to FAIR Girls. According to the release, FAIR (Free – Aware – Inspired – Restored) Girls provides intervention and holistic care to female survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Through prevention education and policy advocacy, FAIR Girls also works to eradicate human trafficking and reduce systematic barriers to survivors’ healing and empowerment. The organization’s mission is deeply rooted in reducing the barriers faced by young women and girls being trafficked and assisting them, not only in safely liberating themselves, but also in having the skills, resources and support they need to remain free.

Marguerite Stimpson as Andromache. 

“Part of our mission at The Phoenix Theatre is giving back to the community,” Mhyr Reich added in a statement. “I discovered FAIR Girls and immediately wanted to partner with them because I was so moved by their programming. What the women go through in Troy is very similar to what is still happening today with human trafficking. It is estimated, that between 15,000 – 50,000 women and children are forced into sexual slavery in the United States every year.” 

Audiences can reserve access to the page and access to the performances through thephoenixtheatrepa.com

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