The Trojan War Isn't Happening
Sat, April 3, 2010 • 8:00 PM • ART 1.102
$5 at the door for UT student group Foot in the Door Theater's performance of a new translation of Jean Giraudoux's 'The Trojan War Isn't Happening', the French Honors thesis of UT undergraduate Daniel Friedman.
UT student group Foot in the Door Theater presents a new translation of Jean Giraudoux's 'The Trojan War Isn't Happening', the French Honors thesis of UT undergraduate Daniel Friedman, who also acts in the production. According to Friedman, “Jean Giraudoux’s La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu (The Trojan War Isn’t Happening) was seen as Giraudoux’s first foray into serious theater and was widely lauded in critics’ reviews, one of whom wrote that the playwrightwhose work had long been dismissed as amateurish was experiencing a “frenzy of revolt and love.”2 His biographer notes that the work won admiration from newspapers of every political leaning, from conservative journals whose readership mostly consisted of military veterans to the Communist paper L’Humanité, which wrote that “if, as some people have deplored, Jean Giraudoux abstained from participating in the demonstrations that took place either for or against peace, for or against culture, perhaps it was that the author was waiting to act in his own way.” …
Giraudoux himself, when asked if his work made allusions to current events, responded, “No allusion, but it’s a question of war and peace.”15 It is from this quality of demi-allegory, inspired by the times but not fully of them, that the play draws its enduring value. Understanding its historical context makes the work more interesting, but an audience completely ignorant of the history of 20th-century Europe would have no trouble understanding Giraudoux’s warnings against the callous shortsightedness that leads to inevitable war. It is unfortunate for humanity, though fortunate for the currency of Giraudoux’s play, that the worst traits of the characters of The Trojan War predominate in every society before it commits itself to combat, a fact that led the author to call the interest of his work “let’s not say eternal, but fairly permanent.” The Trojan War Isn’t Happening is as much about the First World War as it is about the Second, as much about the war in Iraq as it is about either more global battle. It is a work whose themes are never far from our lives and to whose message we would do well to listen.
The Trojan War is filled with odd, and often awkward, phrasings and ideas that I was repeatedly tempted to “clean up” in my translation. My work with my advisor, however, focused on accuracy of rendition and produced, despite the intermittent roughness of the original, what I believe to be a version superior to the only other English translation of the play,* which engaged in substantial revision of the French.”
*Tiger at the Gates translated by Robert Frye
The play will show on the following dates:
April 1st, 2nd and 3rd at 8pm
April 8th and 9th at 8pm
April 10th at 3pm
$5 at the door
Directed/Produced by Ania Upstill