Premiere New York Premiere
Production Language English
Country of Origin England, United Kingdom
Description Once I was a queen. Now I’m your slave. Once blessed with children. Now I’m old with none. These gripping words, uttered to Agamemnon by a bereft Hecuba, occur at a crucial moment in Euripides’ tale of anguish and vengeance. In the aftermath of the Trojan War, the victorious Greek army is returning home. Hecuba, once Queen of Troy, now prisoner of war, is being brought back to Athens with another war treasure: the women of Troy. Robbed first of her throne, her dignity shredded by violence, Hecuba has endured the unthinkable murders of her children. Propelled by grief she vows retribution, and enlisting the help of her attendants, she attains it—blinding the man entrusted with her son’s life and slaying his children.
It’s an outsized role, and as realized by the singular theatrical presence of Vanessa Redgrave, one that will resonate far beyond the confines of the Howard Gilman Opera House. Last seen in New York in her 2003 Tony-winning performance as the morphine-crippled Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night, with Hecuba Redgrave makes her return to the Royal Shakespeare Company after more than four decades. Conceived on a grand scale, from a new version written by and developed for its U.S. engagements by British poet Tony Harrison, the RSC’s production gives modern audiences a chance to experience one of Euripides’ rarely staged tragedies. It is also one of his most affecting, questioning how the victors of war treat the vanquished and exposing the all-too recognizable flaws of his inescapably human characters.