LOS ANGELES -- That eternally fascinating woman, Helen of Troy, will have her day in court at Loyola Marymount University Feb. 12.
Katherine Free, professor of theatre arts and dance at LMU, has translated (into English), adapted and directed Euripides' Helen After Troy.
In an attempt to deal with the myth of Helen from a fresh, feminist viewpoint, she has drawn one story from The Trojan Women and blended it into Helen After Troy.
On one level there is the story of Helen, Queen of Sparta, whose kidnapping caused the Trojan War. From the walls of Troy to the banks of the Nile River, the play depicts Menelaus' struggle to return home and his reconcilation with Helen.
"The conventional Helen is a phantom created by the Gods to fool the Greeks into fighting the Trojan War, fabricating Helen as villain, and like Pandora, Eve and Delilah, to bear on her shoulders the weight of human catastrophe," said Free. "The other, 'real' Helen, is a woman who is intelligent, resourceful and loyal who has been spirited away to Egypt and awaits reconcilation with her husband Menelaus. The play makes the point that the war was caused by acquisitiveness, greed and glory -- and not by Helen."
Free has studied both modern and ancient Greek and was a student of Hugh Gray when he taught modern Greek studies at UCLA. She has been a member of the Hellenic University Club since her graduation and this year begins her 28th year as a faculty member at LMU.
Athan Karras is the choreographer and Christos Tsantiotis has composed original music for the production, which plays Feb. 12-14 and Feb. 18-21 at LMU's Strub Theatre, 7900 Loyola Blvd. All performances are at 8 PM. For tickets, $5, call (310) 338-4463.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent