Typically, voyeurism is understood as the practice of deriving pleasure from viewing sexual acts. In more metaphorical terms, voyeurism is the practice of pleasurably watching others’ suffering and subjugation as phenomena entirely separate from your own. In Trojan Barbie, Lotte’s modern narrative that eventually intersects with the Trojan narrative centers itself around Lotte’s vacation to Turkey (modern-day Troy). Lotte herself considers going on other, more conventional vacation tours for singles before deciding instead on being a modern voyeur of the suffering and pillage accompanying the fall of Troy.
Othering and Pariahship
Perspective taking, from an audience standpoint, is a great tool to use that allows for a nuanced understanding of Trojan Barbie. Upon doing so, every character in Trojan Barbie is, in one way or another, a pariah. Lotte provides sole contrast to the antiquity of the Trojan world. The Trojan women are outsiders as refugees, trapped in a land they consider neither home nor a destination. Lotte, in fact, calls the Trojan women “foreigners”, even after she herself has been dragged into the camp. Helen considers herself a foreigner amongst Troy, the city against which she is waging war. Andromache says herself that, “There is no life in another country. You’ll always be a foreigner on the wrong side of the looking glass” (Evans 30). Many characters are in their own right and context an outsider in Trojan Barbie.
Constructions of Femininity
Hecuba represents an interesting construction of ancient womanhood. She is a diplomat, a matriarch, and the glue that holds the Trojan women together. Against a backdrop of the complete subversion of normalcy which includes the loss of two of her children, Hecuba crumbles. Similarly, Hecuba’s daughter-in-law Andromache mentions that she has done “everything right” in her role as a wife, yet she still faces the terrors and trauma of a world that is shattering around her.
Refuge and Home
Early in the play, Polly X tells a soldier she wants to go home. Not back to the camp, but home. Evans uses this moment to point out that while the Trojan women can make jokes and find light in moments as refugees, at the end of the day, the camp is not their home. The camp is also not home to the soldiers in the play, as expressed by Mica in his monologue. This is important to consider even today as social and political tides are turning, and we must witness and handle similar situations in our own backyard.
Cyclic Nature of War and Violence
The structure of Trojan Barbie lends itself to exploring the repetitive nature of war and violence. Evans hopes to make the point that, no matter how we evolve as a society, no matter how far we advance, we still treat women the same way during times of war. Using Lotte as an example, we as the audience are able to see the way her treatment blends nearly seamlessly into the treatment of the Trojan women. Ultimately, things do not change.
Global Media and Distortion of Narratives
At the end of the play, Lotte reflects on her having been saved from the atrocities of the Trojan war. She monologues how global media networks fixated on Lotte’s rescue from the camp, but focused little, if at all, on the Trojan women and their prolonged suffering. Here, as a final thematic send off for audiences, Christine Evans contends that in covering human rights violations and victims of war, global media outlets seldom propagate marginalized narratives and instead focus on exceptional, rare extremities that present themselves in times of war.