Ellen McLaughlin, the author of the new play Helen, soon to play at the Public Theater, will read excepts from the work on March 4 at 7:30 PM. The reading will take place at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at 4 Astor Place in Manhattan. Donna Murphy will play the title character in Helen. The drama will run Feb. 26-March 31 at the LuEsther Theater. Playwright Tony Kushner, who saw McLaughlin star in his Angels in America on Broadway, will direct.
The play concerns a favorite subject of McLaughlin's: the Battle of Troy. An earlier play, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, which played Off-Broadway's CSC, was a post-modern look at Agamemnon's wife and his daughters, including the title character, who was sacrificed to the gods so that Agamemnon's forces might sail to and engage rival Troy. Helen, is about the woman whose face launched those one thousand ships in the first place. In the world of Helen, however, the woman in question is not in Troy but in Cairo having protein shakes and facials.
—By Robert Simonson