A Brief History of Helen of Troy | Steep Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

A Brief History of Helen of Troy Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, Fri., Nov. 12 and Sat., Nov. 13. Continues through Oct. 30 2010

The death of a parent is a normal trauma, and so is adolescence. But the two combined can yield a kind of insanity. In Mark Schultz's 2005 drama, 15-year-old Charlotte has just lost her mom. Her dad is worse than useless to her, his grief expressing itself as verbal abuse on those rare and ugly occasions when he engages her at all. So Charlotte goes a little mad. Fetishizing her mom as a great beauty akin to Helen of Troy while convinced that she herself is a pimple-faced dog, Charlotte tries various strategies--from a tarty makeover to blackmail--to render herself desirable. A production I saw in London was agonizing but ultimately powerful. Joanie Schultz's staging for Steep Theatre gets to the same place by an alternate route, finding more comedy in Charlotte's misadventures--until the pain kicks in in earnest. --Tony Adler

Price: $20-$22

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