New Musical Adaptation Inspired by Current Politics and the War in Ukraine
Southbank Theatre Company presents the world premiere of a new musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Trojan-War drama by an Indianapolis playwright, composer, and lyricist, Marcia Eppich-Harris. Tickets are on sale now for eight performances of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida: The Musical by Marcia Eppich-Harris, July 13-23, at Shelton Auditorium at Butler Arts and Events Center.
Shaken by the deterioration of women’s rights with last year’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, Eppich-Harris created a musical journey in this new work that takes us to the ancient world, where women are treated as property. “The Trojan War is about who gets to control women’s bodies, and that question is, sadly, still relevant,” said Eppich-Harris, whose theatrical choices were also influenced by the war in Ukraine. “Our musical version of Troilus and Cressida focuses on women’s perceptions and experiences of war, reframing Shakespeare’s most masculine play, to expose how war impacts women and children.”
The play begins as the Greeks and Trojans have reached a stalemate in the seventh year of the Trojan War. As soldiers on both sides debate their next move, the Trojan prince, Troilus, occupies himself with thoughts of love for Cressida, whose father has defected to the Greeks. Meanwhile, Cressida, Helen, and Cassandra wonder how to protect their hearts, minds, and bodies in a world that treats them as chattel. The eclectic score features influences from across eras of popular music, symbolizing the historic universality of the most troubling aspects of love, war, and oppression.
“This is the first musical I’ve ever written, but I hope it won’t be the last,” said Eppich-Harris. “I was a music major in my undergraduate years, and about a third of the songs are revised from music I wrote 25 years ago. The rest were written within the last seven or eight months, and it’s been an incredible experience marrying my love of Shakespeare and music.”
Eppich-Harris is also serving as the director of this two-hour show and is thrilled to stage it at Shelton Auditorium, a beautiful 400-seat Greek-style theater, which Butler University only recently and generously opened to small theater companies. Southbank proudly casts and promotes Central Indiana theater artists.
Content advisory: This show contains frank discussion of sexual assault and the effects of war on women and children. Recommended for audiences age 16+.
WHAT: “Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida: The Musical”
WHEN: July 13-23, Thursday through Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m.,
Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Shelton Auditorium at Butler Arts and Events Center
TICKETS: $30 for adults, $25 for students/seniors. Three options to buy: (1) at the door (2) in advance online or (3) at the Clowes Memorial Hall box office, Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
About Marcia Eppich-Harris
Named one of Central Indiana’s top ten performing arts luminaries on the arts blog On the Aisle with Tom Alvarez in 2022, Marcia Eppich-Harris is the artistic director and founder of Southbank Theatre Company in Indianapolis. She earned a PhD in Shakespeare and Dramatic Literature and taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Eppich-Harris writes plays, musicals (composer/lyricist), fiction, poetry, scholarship, and reviews. Her creative writing is influenced by the literature and history of the ancient Greeks and Romans, British Medieval and Renaissance periods, and current events. She focuses thematically on politics, philosophy, the arts, gender, family, and culture. Her most recent productions include a variety of ten-minute plays and performances of her original, full-length plays Seneca and the Soul of Nero, and The Profession, which was published by Next Stage Press this year.