Helen of Sparta sails into Downtown tonight
Raconteur Theatre Company’s performance of Helen of Sparta by Jacob M. Appel opens tonight at MadLab’s Space. The play tells a modernized version of The Trojan War from the captured Helen’s point of view. Paris (Brian Spangler) has captured Helen (Gabrielle Perrea) and carted her off to Troy for an affair. She proves to be quite a difficult captive; for example, requesting foods that only begin with the letter z and gets caught in the middle between Paris and his estranged wife Oenone (Lorelei Moore). Helen’s husband, King Meneleus (Edwyn Williams) sets off to rescue her but runs into trouble when he finds he has been placed on the Pan-Hellenic “Do Not Sail” list. The Greek army tries to rescue Helen but are warned by the Oracle that the first man to step off the boat will die. When Trojan prophetess Cassandra (Heather Fidler) declares the Oracle is wrong, Protesilaus (Gregory Kimbro) plans to be the first man to attempt rescue which upsets his wife Laodamia (Krista Threadgill).
Director Danielle Mari was asked to consider directing the play and half way through reading the script she was laughing so hard there was no way she could turn it down. Mari has been directing plays since 1995 and was an active part of the Chicago theater scene for fifteen years. The first professional play she directed was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. How does the Helen of Sparta play rank in all of the plays she has directed?
“The Helen cast has been absolutely stupendous. Helen of Sparta is at the top of my list. I’ve gotten to work with an extremely talented bunch of people with no egos. It’s been fun,” shared Mari.
Mari has been enjoying becoming a part of the burgeoning theater scene in Columbus and has recently joined the company at Raconteur.
Carolyn Speicher put together the costumes for Helen of Sparta, creating a mix between Ancient Greece and H&M/Forever 21.
The cast is a mix between seasoned professionals such as Edwyn Williams and newcomers such as Gabrielle Perrea, who will be starting her senior year of high school in a few weeks. Helen of Sparta also features Heather Fidler in her first leading role.
Although the group has faced a couple of technical difficulties with the lighting; the script, cast and set creation have been a breeze. They have worked hard creating the set, fitting a a boat and a hilltop on the stage where the audience will be seated on both sides.
Working on the set themselves and choosing to do new works that could be seen as a risk are part of the ways Raconteur Theatre Company has remained viable where other groups have faced trouble.
Helen of Sparta opens tonight at 7pm at Madlab’s Space, 227 N. 3rd St., Columbus, Ohio 43215.
Performance dates are:
Friday, August 12 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 13 at 8 p.m.
Thursday, August 18 at 8 p.m.*
Friday, August 19 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 20 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, August 21 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, August 25 at 8 p.m.*
Friday, August 26 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 27 at 8 p.m.
*Thursdays are Theatre Industry nights! Theatre professionals bring your headshot and/or resume to the performance and get buy one get one free tickets!