On Oct.18, 1961, Ellen Stewart signed her first lease on a basement space at 321 East Ninth St., N.Y., which was the beginning of her now internationally-known theatre, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. On the same date in 1974, Stewart opened a large Annex Theatre at 66 East 4th St. with Elizabeth Swados and Andrei Serban's Fragments of a Greek Trilogy, a deconstruction of Medea, Elektra and The Trojan Women.
The Trojan Women, again presented by the Great Jones Repertory, again directed by Swados and Serban, will be revived at La MaMa, Dec. 12-22. The show was last seen as part of La MaMa's 25th Anniversary celebration in 1986.
Set during the fall of Troy, Euripides' Trojan Women is "a study of extreme grief under extreme circumstances...the story of women caught in a man's war." This adaptation is culled from Ancient Greek, Latin and Indian texts, as well as African and Indian chants.
Serban started his career at La MaMa, in 1969. Since then, he's directed Ubu, Arden and other productions there and was recently named Director of the Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theatre Studies at Columbia University.
Elizabeth Swados also started at La MaMa, winning her first Obie at age 21 for setting Medea to ethnic music. At La MaMa she has created and staged Crow, Jerusalem and, with Serban, "Fragments Of A Greek Trilogy. Her other works include Runaways, The Red Sneaks, The Haggadah, Rap Master Ronnie and Nightclub Cantata. Appearing in the production are Natalie Gray, Neal Harris, Charles Hayward, Onni Johnson, Ted Lambert, Jane Lind, Valois Mickins, Joanna Peled, Priscilla Smith, Dolphi George and M.A. Whiteside, who were all part of the original acting company. Joining them will be Victor Attar, Charlotte Brathwaite, Daniel Raphael Katz, Kim Ima, Hunyup Lee, Julia Martin, Brian Nishi, Shawn Randall, Christopher Roberts, Danny Strauss, Shigeko Suga, Howard Thies, Kevin Wilson, Zishan Ugurlu and Mia Yoo. Nine children will also be part of the production, including two of Serban's own.
Lighting for the show is by Howard Thies; costumes by Sandra Muir, sets by Jun Maedra, David Adams and Mark Tambella.
For tickets ($15) and information on The Trojan Women, call La MaMa at (212) 475-7710.
-- By David Lefkowitz