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Character Studies and our
U. S. Veteran Actors

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Hecuba

Hecuba was a queen, the wife of King Priam of Troy during the Trojan War.  She had 19 children, who included major characters of Homer's Iliad such as the warriors Hector and Paris, as well as the prophetess Cassandra.

Hecuba is a main character in two plays by Euripides: The Trojan Women and Hecuba. The Trojan Women describes the aftermath of the fall of Troy, including Hecuba's enslavement by Odysseus. Hecuba also takes place just after the fall of Troy. Polydorus, the youngest son of Priam and Hecuba, is sent to King Polymestor for safekeeping, but when Troy falls, Polymestor murders Polydorus. Hecuba learns of this, and when Polymestor comes to the fallen city, Hecuba, by trickery, blinds him and kills his two sons.

Another story says that when she was given to Odysseus as a slave, she snarled and cursed at him, so the gods turned her into a dog, allowing her to escape.

Hecuba is played by Diana Shield

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Born and raised in Chicago, Diana Shield was always driven to succeed, no matter the circumstances. Immediately after graduating High School, she enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. Her active duty service would take her from the streets of Chi-Town to the swampy marshes of Parris Island, S.C. and then the far east world of Iwakuni, Japan. She would have a brief stop in Miramar, CA before landing in Camp Lejeune, N.C. where she would finish out her active duty. After moving back to Chicago, Diana began to pursue her passion for acting and enrolled in classes at the local college. But life had other plans for her and those plans involved motherhood. Diana then moved to Washington D.C. with her husband and daughter. While living there, she would travel to New York City for acting school and auditions. In order to provide and support for her family, she took a job in Quantico, VA working alongside Marines as a civilian staff member. Unfortunately, her on-going medical condition impaired her ability to maintain employment, thus forcing her to retire from the position. But life once again had other plans for her, and this time the opportunity to move out west was within her reach. She set out west with her family. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, CA, right away she landed roles in two feature films (The Miller Prediction, By Day’s End). Diana’s theater side would be resurrected, being cast in the original musical Eastside Heartbeats at CASA 0101 theater in Boyle Heights. There she was lauded with high reviews from The Topanga Messenger, saying Diana “shines with her acting skills” and has “a voice that won’t quit”. She has appeared in other theater production original pieces such as: Ring of Red, A Barrio Story (Bootleg Theater), Red Sand (Santa Monica Playhouse), and Anarchy Chiapas (Highways Performance Space). Most recently, she wrote and performed her own original pieces for Warrior Bards: Veterans Exploring Ancient Drama at the University of Southern California and Everyday Heroes at the Geffen Playhouse. She currently teaches Yoga in Burbank, more specifically, Hot Yoga. She wants to inspire others and teach them health is a goal that can be attained without medications.

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Chorus

The chorus of Hecuba consists of Trojan women who identify themselves as supporters of Hecuba from the first moment of their entrance, where they arrive in haste, having taken the risk of leaving their own tents to warn Hecuba about Polyxena's fate.

Chorus played by Gwyn LaRee

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Gwyn LaRee is an actor and voiceover performer who brings a wealth of real life experience, hard work and reality to every character she embodies. Blue collar to the core, Gwyn is from rural Southwest Washington where she runs a retirement home for alpacas when not performing. She and husband Mac are constantly upgrading their property and often have 2 or 3 projects going at any time. Whether taking out trees, running new fence or putting in retaining walls, Gwyn gets in and works (no "gym muscles" here).

Gwyn was one of those kids that started performing as soon as she could walk and getting her first role in a community theater production at 9 years old just strengthened her addiction. Still, life sometimes leads us in other directions and for her some of those adventures included: assistant horse trainer, veterinary receptionist, courier, data-entry clerk, long-haul truck driver, bookkeeper and (most influentially) a United States Marine. Gwyn's Marine Corps service saw her reach the rank of Corporal (E-4) as she worked in Switchboard/Telecommunications Repair while stationed at the 29 Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.

After leaving the service, Gwyn earned a long sought after Bachelor degree (Magna cum Laude) from Western Oregon University in Theater Arts with a minor in Special Education.  During this journey Gwyn spent two years wheelchair bound from neuropathy believed to be connected to her military service. Being matched with a service dog, Simba, from America's VetDogs in 2010 gave her the strength to pursue her acting career professionally.  Simba has long since retired but Gwyn continues to support the America's VetDogs program every chance she gets.

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Polydorus

Polydorus’ ghost presents the prologue of the play, explaining that he was sent to Thrace under the protection of King Polymestor in case Troy fell. With his son, Priam sent gold so that if Troy should fall his son could continue to support himself. Once Troy fell, however, Polymestor killed Polydorus by throwing him into the sea and stole the gold.

Polydorus played by Keanu Lee Gonzales

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Keanu Gonzales served 5 years in the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 2018. During these years, a Pvt Gonzales grew into a Sgt Gonzales thanks to the outstanding leadership from peers and mentors met from duty station to duty station. While his time in active duty has ended, Keanu strives to facilitate the esprit de corps born from a close-knit platoon to new aspects of everyday civilian life. The humility and strength learned from the Marines has been monumental in Keanu's journey towards becoming a professional actor.

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Polyxena

Polyxena, in Greek mythology, a daughter of Priam, king of Troy, and his wife, Hecuba. After the fall of Troy, she was claimed by the ghost of Achilles, the greatest of the Greek warriors, as his share of the spoils and is to be put to death at his tomb. Polyxena is resigned to her fate, declaring that she prefers death to slavery.

Polyxena played by Corrina Ramos

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Corrina Ramos, She is an Actress/ Dancer. United States Air Force Veteran she enlisted after college knowing she had a talent for the arts invested in studying the craft of acting under notable instructors, is an alumnus from Upright Citizens Brigade, participated in the Veteran Writing & Performance at the Geffen Playhouse, cast member of DIAVOLO Dance Theatre’s Veterans Project, member of UCLA's wordcommandos, and is an alumni of USC's Warrior Bards program.

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Odysseus

The famous tactician and brains behind the Greek army. Odysseus is best known for his decade-long trip back home after the events of the Trojan War as told in The Odyssey, but he plays an integral part in The Iliad and other myths. In HECUBA Odysseus comes to fetch Polyxena for the sacrifice. The eloquent and persuasive Odysseus tries to persuade Hecuba not to take the loss of her daughter too much to heart. Hecuba, for her part, attempts to shame Odysseus into releasing her daughter, but he is unmoved.

Odysseus is played by Nicholas Cormier III

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Nicholas Cormier III is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Spent several years as an Air Traffic Controller. Graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington. Studied Art with a concentration in Film and a minor in Theatre. Holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Texas State University. Actor. Writer. Director. Nicholas owns Runner Films, a film and video production company. Volunteers for Veteran-centric service organizations. Regularly advocates for mentally ill veterans, including those with substance abuse issues—living on the streets of Los Angeles. Nicholas is the Homelessness Liaison on the Community Veterans Engagement Board and serves on the Veterans Patient Advocacy Council for the GLA VA in Brentwood, CA.  USC Warrior Bard and longtime member of the renowned UCLA Wordcommandos Creative Writing Workshop for Veterans. Nicholas' flash fiction and short stories were accepted for publication by MAYDAY Magazine, Lolwe Magazine , LEON Literary Review, Black And..., As You Were,  Jupiter Review, and the Good Life Review.

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Agamemnon

The elder brother of Menelaus and the leader of the Greek army. A tragic figure, Agamemnon began the Trojan War by sacrificing his daughter so the Greek ships could sail to Troy. Agamemnon is summoned to judge Polymestor and Hecuba. Hecuba convinces Agamemnon that he slew her son purely for the sake of the gold.

Agamememnon is played by Kim Estes

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Estes was born and raised in Los Angeles (Jefferson Park/Crenshaw district) and attended college at CSU, Cal Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA and post-graduate work at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business. He joined the US Merchant Marines and the US Navy upon graduation. After sailing for 14 years, he became a Chief Engineer on ocean going vessels. Estes also worked as the corporate head of the Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability group for a major fortune 500 company. He has served as a consultant and special investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board and has worked on Environmental & Safety disasters across the globe to help make the world a better place.

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Talthybius

Talthybius was herald and friend to Agamemnon in the Trojan War. In Hecuba, Talthybius brings an order from Agamemnon to Hecuba, telling her to bury her daughter, Polyxena, who was sacrificed to Achilles. He exercises significant independence in the way he carries out his orders given to him from the commanders.

Talthybius is played by Tony Nevada

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Tony Nevada is an American television and film actor. He began his career after serving honorably in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Nevada was accepted as a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio by Academy Award winning actor Martin Landau. He went on to work with Clint Eastwood in Warner Bro’s Best Picture nominated American Sniper opposite Bradley Cooper. His next studio film was opposite Miles Teller in Universal and Dreamworks Thank You For Your Service. Television credits include playing Gene Scarborough on the top-rated sudser Young and the Restless and as Riggs opposite Katherine Heigl in State of Affairs. Tony Nevada is attached to several upcoming films including a remake of the blockbuster cult classic Billy Jack.

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Polymestor

Polymestor was a king of the Bistonians in Thrace. During the Trojan War, King Priam was frightened for his youngest son Polydorus's safety and sent him, along with gifts of jewelry and gold, to the court of King Polymestor. After Troy fell, Polymestor betrayed Priam and threw Polydorus into the ocean in order to keep the treasure for himself.

Hecuba found the body and discovered the treachery. She baits Polymestor by drawing him in with treasure. Hecuba has the other Trojan women kill Polymestor's sons, and blinds Polymestor by scratching his eyes out. Polymestor, humiliated at having been blinded and made childless at the hands of slave women. He is given a trial against Hecuba by Agamemnon who sides with Hecuba and declares Polymestor's actions to be murder.

Polymestor played by Marc Randolph Henry

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