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Helen of Sparta and Cassandra of Troy take center stage in Gainesville Theatre Alliance play
'The Raven and the Nightingale' set for April 6-9 at Brenau Downtown Center
0406 GO RAVEN
Brenau University theater majors Heidi Rider and Geanna Funes portray a scene in “The Raven and the Nightingale.”

‘The Raven and the Nightingale’

When: 7:30 p.m. April 6-9; talk back with director and cast after April 7 performance

Where: Theatre on the Square, Brenau Downtown Center, 301 Main St. SW, Gainesville

Cost: Free

More info: blog.ung.edu/gta

In an ancient world rocked with the horrors of destruction and wrath of gods, the women of the Trojan War fight off madness to save their home and family.

The Gainesville Theatre Alliance Discovery Series brings to life this lesser known story of a mythic conflict with “The Raven and the Nightingale,” an original Greek tragedy by Gay H. Hammond.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 6-9 in the Theatre on the Square at the Brenau Downtown Center. Theater patrons may participate in a talkback with the cast and crew after the April 7 show.

All shows are free with a seating on a first-come, first-serve basis at 301 Main St. SE in Gainesville. Patrons may receive vouchers at 6:30 p.m. the night of each performance for a guaranteed seat. The theater doors will open at 7:10 p.m.

During the show, patrons will enter the mind of Cassandra, a doomed prophetess of Troy. Blessed long ago by Apollo with the ability of foresight, she was cursed by him so no one would believe her. Assailed by the power of her visions while trying to navigate their meaning, Cassandra is guided by the ghost of her twin brother, Scamandrius. On the flip side, she is challenged by her nemesis, Helen of Sparta, as she races to save her family and home before they are all consumed by madness and destruction.

“Raven” takes audiences back to the mythical Trojan War. For most audiences this brings to mind the deeds of Achilles, Odysseus and Hector. But “Raven” is a new play, sculpted by the emerging artists of the Discovery Series to redefine the way audiences see the Trojan War.

“The play isn’t really about the Trojan War to me at all, but about the character of Cassandra,” director and playwright Gay H. Hammond said. “I want the play to feel not necessarily ‘Greek,’ but timeless.”

The play also gives women a greater say in the events of the war. And Hammond wanted to explore a personal story neglected through the years.

“The way in which I wanted to delve into the psychology of the characters was not served well by the original works,” Hammond said. “My Cassandra and my Helen are very different from the women in the 2,500-year-old plays and, to my knowledge, there is not a play about Cassandra’s twin brother at all.”

“The Raven and the Nightingale” is a part of GTA’s Discovery Series, the alternate and often more experimental stage frequently featuring smaller-scale professional productions and contemporary scripts. The Gainesville Theatre Alliance is a nationally acclaimed collaboration of the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theatre professionals and the North Georgia community.

For more information, visit blog.ung.edu/gta/performances/gta-discovery-series.

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