The Hope Theater Department will present Ellen McLaughlin’s Helen beginning this weekend, October 5-6 and continuing next week, October 10-13.
Helen tells the story of Helen of Troy, the famed character from Euripedes’ ancient Greek play. Helen was a beauty and was remarkably (for that time) allowed to choose a husband for herself. Selecting Menelaus, they ruled peacefully in Sparta and had one daughter, Hermione, equal in beauty to her parents. Helen was forced into going to Troy to live as Prince Paris’ wife, which served as the cause of the famed Trojan War. Helen’s character has appeared in everything from young adult novels to the Disney movie Hercules.
In Western Art, Helen of Troy is often depicted in the abduction.
Painted by Luca Giordano
In McLaughlin’s play, Helen never actually makes it to Troy, but instead lands herself in an Egyptian hotel room waiting for her husband Menelaus to retrieve her. While alone in her room, she receives visits from Io and Athena.
The play takes the Greek mythology and spins it into a comedy, playing with several themes associated with Helen’s narrative. Issues of identity and image, the phenomenon of human beauty and personal story versus impossible myth are explored in the play.
Van Wylen has a great selection of resources if you’re interested in learning more about Helen of Troy. Check out these catalog listings for more information.
To read more of McLaughlin’s drama, check out The Greek Plays, her collection that put a new spin on Greek mythology.
Tickets for Helen can be purchased at the DeVos Fieldhouse Ticket Office or by calling (616) 395-7890.
–Madalyn Muncy, Library Student Blogger