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by William Shakespeare

Seven years into the Trojan War, the combatants grow disillusioned and weary of battle, turning in upon themselves. The heroics of Homer's Iliad devolve into chaos as two nations willfully pursue paths they know to be wrong and corrupt. Woven with wit and exquisite language, Shakespeare's rarely performed Troilus and Cressida tells a tale as grotesque as it is sexy and as cynical as it is heartbreaking.

Plots interweave as the Trojan War plays itself out and as Troilus plays for the love and sexual conquest of Cressida. Upon winning her, he loses interest. "Men prize the thing ungained more than it is," Cressida cynically observes. She is ordered to return to the Greek camp, and with no move by Troilus to keep them together, she obeys. There she earns a reputation for sexual profligacy when multiple Greek suitors swarm about her. Is she the faithless coquette she appears, or a victim of men and of war? While the heroics of the Iliad are no longer in evidence, this yet remains a world where nothing has changed in the uneasy relations between the sexes and women are seen as the prizes of war.

Troilus and Cressida completes Shotgun Players artistic director Patrick Dooley's personal trilogy of dramas about the Trojan War - from the moment before the ships left Greece in Euripides Iphegenia in Aulis, to Giraudous's anti-war satire, There Will Be No Trojan War, with the Greeks landing on the beaches, to, now, Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, a world where good intentions and hope are infected by fear, greed and jealousy. "This is one of Shakespeare's slipperiest plays," notes Dooley, who will direct. "It is neither comedy nor tragedy, history or love story. It's an ironic and satirical play, perhaps more meaningful to contemporary audiences than when it was written. Audiences today are more savvy about the politics of gender and war that Shakespeare put on display here. We're conscious of how screwed up our world is and we can really appreciate the humor and tragedy of the play."

Frieda Naphsica de Lackner plays the "inconstant" Cressida, with Tyler Fazakerley as "faithful" Troilus. Kimberly Wilday returns as Cassandra, a very different Cassandra from the cocaine-sniffing seer of There Will Be No Trojan War. Reid Davis is Pandarus - whose name has entered the language as one who solicits for whores - eager to set up his niece Cressida with the young Troilus. Rica Anderson is Helen, older yet still a beauty, the embodiment of the male erotic fantasy. Clive Worsley performs as the pockmarked bilious fool, Thersites.

Shotgun Players continue this 10th Anniversary Season with Troilus and Cressida as their outdoor summer show in John Hinkel Park in North Berkeley, with the preview July 21 and opening night set for July 27. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays only at 5pm through September 1. Tickets are paying what you can. John Hinkel Park is located at Southampton Avenue (between San Diego Road & Somerset Place) in North Berkeley. For reservations or information the public may call 510-704-8210 or check out


Review by Lisa Drostova for East Bay Express
Review by Chad Jones for Oakland Tribune
Review by Laura Shalson for SF Bay Guardian

Directed by Patrick Dooley



Cressida: Frieda Naphsica de Lackner
Troilus: Tyler Fazakerley
Cassandra: Kimberly Wilday
Pandarus: Reid Davis
Helen: Rica Anderson
Thersites: Clive Worsley

July 21 at 5 PM

July 27 at 5 PM

Saturdays and Sundays ONLY at 5 PM

Sept 1 at 5 PM

Pay What You Can

John Hinkel Park, Southampton Avenue (between San Diego Road & Somerset Place) in North Berkeley

Click here for a map.
About John Hinkel Park
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