Trojan Women by EddyZ.
Some of the young actresses were involved in a heated argument. Others sat down dismayed. But to all of them the announcement of the assistant director had been a complete shock.
They had gathered for the first rehearsal of Euripides’ tragedy “Trojan Women”. The twelve girls, some of them just graduated from drama school, others more experienced, were cast for the chorus of Trojan women, captured by the Greeks.
Before the start of the first rehearsal the assistant-director had addressed them:
“Girls, you have read the text of the play I assume. You know then the contents of it and you know that the situation is very sad for the women. Their husbands and sons have been killed, they themselves and their children captured. They will be brought to Greece as slaves and concubines. They are sad, mournful, dispirited and bewildered.
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“The director has meant that this should be showed not only in your conducts and expressions but also in your appearance. So at the performance you’ll wear torn garments and…” she paused for a few moments, “this will be shocking for you… shaved heads.”
The girls were dumbfounded.
She continued: “I know this will be difficult item for you and we have taken measures to support you. Nevertheless I must point out that in your contract with the company is said that you have to obey every direction given to you. So consider it but you have only the choice between acceptance or dismissal. Please keep that in mind. Now we take a break of twenty minutes and then I want to hear the decision of each of you.”
After she had gained her breath Dawn asked her friend Cassie: “What are you going to do?”
“I think I have no choice and you neither. We need the money.”
“I praised the fate that I had got the engagement with this well-known company… If I had known….”
“Perhaps you should have thanked god for it, Dawn,” she laughed. “No, that wouldn’t have changed anything.”
“You can laugh, Cassie. Your hair is short, so you have not much to lose, but it will take years for me to have this long hair again.”
“Didn’t I tell you several times that you’d better lop it off? Much easier.”
“Thank you very much! For joking about me. You really are a friend!”
“I’m sorry, Dawn. I know you love your hair. It is not my intention to laugh at you. But what else?”
“Yeah. I’m fed up to make again endless tours of auditions. Besides, I can’t afford it, how should I pay my debts? As I will get a salary now I have bought things but I still have to pay for them. Only… Nick, what will he say?”
“If he loves you he will understand. Really, Dawn, if he deserts you for that he doesn’t deserve you.”
Dawn sighed. “It is no use bothering. I’ll have to do it. Well, come on, let’s join the navy!”
A girl next to her, May, heard this.
“The navy? Day of reckoning, I daresay. However, we’re playing prisoners, aren’t we?”
“It is no custom to shave the heads of prisoners, May,” said Dawn.
“Other times, other customs, dearie. Once I read in the bible, in Deuteronomy, that an Israelite who wanted to marry a woman of a defeated opponent nation, should shave her head and let her mourn for a month. If he still wanted her he was allowed to marry her.”
“But I am not going to marry.”
“Yes you are, at least in your role. Maybe not a real marriage but you will be given to a Greek.”
“No way, It’s not on! You may say what you want but I stand out.”
“Come on, Wilma, you are the only exception. Am I right, girls?”
“Okay, don’t push her. If she doesn’t want to do it, it is okay. I wish I could refuse too, but I cannot afford it.”
“Girls, you cannot force me. I love you all but really, I’m chickening out. No ill feelings, I hope. Someone else will take my place.”
“Well, ladies, what did you decide?”
“Soraya, may we ask you something before we answer you?”
“Sure. What do you want, Celesta?”
“How about you? Do you support us?”
“I don’t know what you mean, Celesta. Of course I’ll support you.”
“Okay, you ask us to sacrifice our hair. Therefore we ask: what do you do?”
The assistant-director grew pale, then red.
“Listen, I have a contract too.”
“And in it is described how your hair must be?”
“Celesta, not specifically, but it is said that my appearance has to be correct. So it is formulated. I’ll tell you something: I’ll ask the managing director if I’m allowed to shave my head. You may come with me after the rehearsel, Celesta. Or someone else, if you like.”
Dawn and Cassie shared a small apartment. They had known each other since high school where they had both taken part in school plays. Both had left the little town, in which they had grown up, after their graduation and had headed for the big city. Both had been admitted to the drama school and now they had got their first engagement at the municipal theatre company. They shared everything, even sometimes their clothes, although they weren’t the same size. But this changed when Dawn fell in love with Nick, which had happened some weeks ago. Of course they had had friends before, but never a very intimate relationship. The smaal bedroom which the girls shared had never been an obstacle.
With Nick a new era had started. Cassie realized that she was in the way when Dawn and Nick were together. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but Cassie wanted to share Nick with her friend too! Perhaps she wasn’t in love with him, but she liked and worshipped him, at least physically. Of course she didn’t show that to avoid jeopardizing her friendship with Dawn.
Now they were awaiting the Nick’s arrival. Dawn seemed to be nervous. Of course Nick would like to know how their first rehearsal had worked out. And then Dawn would have to tell him that the director wanted her to shave her head. Dawn didn’t dare to look at him when she said it to him. But Cassie did and she saw a remarkable change in his features. His eyes widened and became bright. A mischievous laugh curled his lips. The idea excited him!
Dawn looked up uneasily when he didn’t say a word.
“I have to do it,” she said apologizing. “I couldn’t permit myself to be fired.”
Nick hugged her.
“I love you, you know. Don’t worry about it.”
“But don’t you care then? I do, I think it is a horrible idea to have all of my hair cut off.”
“You have to do that just before the first performance, don’t you? So it has to take place after nine weeks. I’ll tell you what to do. You should start to cut your hair shorter.”
“What? Now? But I… don’t you like my hair?”
“I do, darling, but it will be less traumatic for you if your hair is already short. I’ll do it with pleasure for you.”
“You?” Dawn asked amazed. “Are you serious?”
Cassie butted in.
“Let him do it, Dawn. I told you several times that you should cut your hair. And what does it matter? It has to go anyway.”
Dawn pondered this. “Are you able to cut hair?” she hesitatingly asked Nick.
Cassie answered: “Yes he can, he has cut my hair too.”
“What? Why don’t I know that?”
“You were not here. At another audition. Nick was here waiting for you but it got late. I told him that I needed a haircut and he said that he could do it. So he did.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You came back late, dismayed. Another disappointment. So I wouldn’t bother you and then I forgot. That’s all.”
“But why didn’t I notice?”
“Sweetheart, you have only eyes for Nick,” Dawn laughed.
“It happened about ten days ago,” said Nick. “Well what do you think of Cassie’s locks?”
“She looks great,” said Dawn
“Okay, let’s do it!”
“Sit down then.” Cassie had laid a sheet on the floor in the center of the room and had placed a chair on it.
“Better take off your shirt,” said Cassie and Dawn pulled it over her head. Cassie brought a pair of kitchen scissors.
“How much are you going to cut?” asked Dawn nervously.
“That depends on how brave you are.”
“Oh, Dawn, don’t be a softy! What do you care? In a few weeks it all has to go.” Cassie told her.
“Okay Nick, I leave it to you.”
Cassie gave him a wink, not seen by Dawn. She had her friend where she wanted her.
Nick looked at the scissors. “A pair of clippers would be better.”
“No problem,” said Cassie, “back in a few minutes.”
Dawn gasped, astonished and anxious. “Where the hell is she going?”
“I suppose getting the same clippers that she borrowed when I cut her hair.”
Dawn became suspicious. “You didn’t cut her hair, did you?”
“Yes darling, I did. Though it was not really necessary as her hair is so short.”
“Why did you do it then?”
“She wanted to please me. I like to cut female hair.”
Dawn gasped again. “I don’t understand…. You never told me that…”
“Sweetheart, how long have we known each other? Three weeks?”
“Yes, I see. What…. why do you want to use the clippers on me?” Her anxiousness came back.
“Look at those scissors. Not the most suitable to cut hair, are they? Besides, you can get accustomed to them.”
“Ssssh, it gives me the creeps, you know.”
Cassie returned with the clippers.
“Oh, my god,” exclaimed Dawn, very upset now.
Cassie gave her a hug. “He is not going to shave you to the bone, silly. I’ll tell you something. When your hair is short it will be less traumatic to have your head shaved when the time comes.”
“So, are you ready, darling?” asked Nick.
Dawn nodded nervously. “Tell me what you are doing, I can’t see myself.”
Nick brushed out Dawn’s long hair. “First I’ll gather it into a ponytail.”
Cassie tied it with a blue ribbon. Nick flicked on the switch of the clippers. Dawn winced.
“Now I’m cutting it… and here it is.”
He held up one and a half feet of dirty-blonde hair. Dawn looked at it. A few tears dripped on both sides along her cheeks.
“Your long hair has gone, darling! Now, how short do you want to go?”
“I don’t care, Nick. Just go ahead.”
“Well, I’ll use the clippers inverted to establish a short style.”
He looked at Cassie, she nodded. Nick brushed the now considerably shorter hair with uneven lengths. He inserted the clippers above Dawn’s right ear. A layer of about five inches long was severed and dropped on her bare shoulders, in the same way as a part of an iceberg that came loose and sagged into the sea. Nick continued to go round her head with the clippers via the back to the left side. He pinned up the remaining hair on top, parting it from the longer hair still present at the sides and back. With the clippers now in the normal position he quickly buzzed it off. He started at her nape near the skin and gradually lifted the machine when he got higher at the back of her head. When he released the hair on top the result became visible: a bowl cut. But he still had to comb the frontal portion forward to cut the bangs.
“Well, what do you say?” Cassie held a mirror in front of Dawn’s face.
She had been silent during the cutting thinking of the joy it caused to her boyfriend to do this.
She shook her head and saw her short hair flutter. “Wow! It is cool!”
“Do you like it?”
“Yes, I look different. It’s only a pity that it has to go later.”
“Later, Dawn. But it won’t take a long time to grow back to this length once you are allowed to have your hair grow again. Listen, Nick, we have the clippers and you like to cut. How about changing my pixie cut into a flattop?” Cassie asked, again astonishing Dawn.
“No problem. I take it that you have shaving cream and razors.”
“Of course! Girls shave their legs, underarms and bikini lines.”
It didn’t take much time to perform the transformation of Cassie. She rubbed her hands over the shaven back and sides and then over the 1/4 inch length of erect hair on top. She smiled.
From the original twelve women seven had had long hair. One week later, only two. All the others had chopped off their locks.
The day of the last judgement had come: the dress rehearsal. Before the start the heads of the twelve actresses were shaved and this would happen before every performance as long as the play was performed.
Not Soraya’s head.
“You don’t belong to the chorus. Why should you shave your head?” the managing director had asked.
“To declare my solidarity with the girls. In sympathy with them.”
“Well it is a magnanimous gesture but I cannot grant it.”
“You knew that he would say that, didn’t you?” asked Celesta when they had left the director’s office.
“You think it is a frame-up? No, Celesta. I didn’t warn him. I am disappointed that you have any doubts about my intentions.”
“Oh well, I believe you. I’m sorry but it is for us hard to put it.”
“I know. Well, let bygones be bygones. I tried and lost. I’m sorry for all of you.”
“Good heavens, I cannot tell any more which of you is Dawn and who is Cassie,” Nick joked.
“What does it matter, Nick?” said Dawn. “I know that you worship each of us and I worship both of you. We must stick together and I have been thinking. Why should not Cassie and I share you? We are like two sisters.”
It was Cassie who gasped.
“We should build up a trio? I thought you and Nick were lovers.”
“Yes but I noticed that you love him too. And he likes you. I am not jealous and I don’t want to compete with you. So let us share him.”
“I’m on the verge of heart, my sweetest friend.” Touched, she hugged her. “But don’t we have to ask Nick if he accepts our offer?”
They looked at him…