By Euripides. Translated and adapted by Timberlake Wertenbaker.
Cast: 4m., 2w. (chorus.) "Hecuba, the story of a noble spirit ravaged beyond redemption, is one of the first works of literature to look unsparingly at the aftermath of war. This was Euripides' great theme: neither gods nor an abstraction called fate, but we ourselves cause our own sorrows and have the means to redeem our lives. After the fall of Troy, Hecuba, now enslaved...is told her daughter Polyxena must be sacrificed to appease the ghost of Achilles and to assure fair winds for the Greek fleet's return home. Wrenched to the breaking point, she is then driven over the edge when the body of her youngest son, Polydorus, washes up on the shore. He had been sent away for safekeeping to...Polymestor. Hecuba takes revenge, blinding Polymestor and slaughtering his two young sons. In Hecuba, everything happens because of 'ananke,' conventionally translated as necessity. In this play, there are no impersonal gods dealing the tragic strokes that lash Hecuba into madness; instead, she is brought low by politics, expediency and greed. Many modernized versions of classic plays aim for timelessness; this one achieves it. Its people could be any refugees appealing to any conquerors for basic human rights." (San Jose Mercury News) One ext. set.