The Trojan Whore
If you thought the above paragraph was arch and clever, you're in for a treat with Sean Michael Welch's play. If, however, you're tired of loose metaphors for the Bush administration's policies disguised as political theatre, you might want to stay away.
Even for those of us tired of preachy, anti-Bush shows, there is a lot to recommend in The Trojan Whore. John Edward O'Brien has staged the work effectively in the tiny, 30-seat Devanaughn Theatre at the Piano Factory, emphasizing the personal conflicts that underlie national battles. The cast is uniformly talented, eliciting their fair share of laughs and even a bit of pathos.
The script hinges on the character of Todd Harper (Jason Myatt). Don't remember him from Homer's version? He's the press secretary to King Agamemnon (Lonnie McAdoo), pulling all the strings from behind the scenes and making sure his actions stay off the record. Myatt gives a textured performance, balancing his role on the one hand as our modern eyes into the king's court, but on the other hand a full participant in the events of the play despite his fish out of water position. McAdoo's king gives Myatt plenty to work off, commanding the stage with a booming voice and royal presence. Sean Barney completes the trio as Odysseus, set up from the start as a foil to Todd, doubting his modern ways while remaining in his proper place subservient to the king. Barney shows the most nuance over the course of the evening, allowing Odysseus to grow from an understated, almost meek member of the court into the warrior of legend and then some.
The design of the show veers a bit too far in the direction of community theatre, although the lighting by Greg M. Jutkiewicz has some nice moments and Kathy Maloney's second act costumes definitely outshine those from the first.
The Trojan Whore is presented by the Mill 6 Theatre Collaborative at the now through April 16th at the Devanaughn Theatre at the Piano Factory, 791 Tremont Street in Boston. Performances are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8:00 pm and Sunday, April 10th at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $15, with student and senior discounts on Thursdays and Sunday. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or visit Theatermania.com.