Everyone knows the story of Helen of Troy, wife of Menelaus, mistress of Paris, whose face launched 1,000 ships. But what if Helen never actually made it to Troy?
"That story is not true. You never sailed in the benched ships. You never went to the city of Troy," wrote the 6th-Century poet Stesichorus. Instead, he proposes, she remained pure and safe in Egypt while her phantom, or 'eidolon,' went on to Troy. What is the story of that Helen, the one who could only watch from the sidelines as cities were burned and epics sung? Inspired by such questions, Euripides' tragedy Helen is presented with this alternate, Egypt-bound version.
This November, Extant Arts Company will present Ellen McLaughlin's lyrical adaptation of Helen, examining the themes of beauty, celebrity, image, and agency through the untold story of history's greatest vixen, an unauthorized biography of sorts.