‘Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History of Helen of Troy’
Published Thursday, 06-Nov-2008 in issue 1089
Those teen years have seldom seemed as lonely and desperate as in Mark Schultz’s Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History of Helen of Troy, playing through Sunday, Nov. 23, at Lynx Theatre. Al Germani directs.
The recent death of Charlotte’s beautiful mother has plunged her and her father Harry (Bill Kehayias) into a deepening well of sadness, anger and neediness. Harry has withdrawn into drink and incessant TV watching, and seems to find it necessary to keep reminding 15-year-old Charlotte (Michaelle Procopio) that she is “not pretty like your mother.” Charlotte’s response is to retreat into a fantasy life. Neither seems capable of communication beyond the level of anger and blame.
Charlotte has become obsessed with Helen of Troy, identifying with her daughter Hermione, also the abandoned daughter of a beautiful mother. The play is interspersed with videotaped interludes of Charlotte making an oral report about Helen.
Charlotte has one real friend, the slightly nerdy Franklin (Kevin Koppman-Gue), who one day offhandedly introduces her to his hunky cousin, football player Freddie (Joshua Manley). This allows her fantasies to go into overtime and to report all sorts of fantastic doings to rich classmate Heather (Joan Westmoreland), who talks a big sex line but may be as inexperienced as Charlotte.
Then there’s guidance counselor Gary (Walter Ritter), who either advises her against her stated career goal of acting in porn movies, or suggests it and acts inappropriately in other ways. Schultz leaves it to you to decide.
Charlotte’s quest for connection leads her to make all the wrong choices (not to mention the wrong moves). Her spiral will be familiar on some level to everyone who survived that age, difficult though it is to watch.
Procopio is heartbreaking and courageous in her portrayal of the chaos that is Charlotte’s life. The other characters are convincing as well, and though I question the use of the obviously adult Westmoreland as the teenage Heather, Germani directs with a sure hand.
Not for the Neil Simon crowd, Everything Will Be Different is theater for the adventurous.
Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History of Helen of Troy plays through Sunday, Nov. 23, at Lynx Theatre, 2653 Ariane Drive. Shows run Friday through Sunday at 8 p.m.; Tuesday at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.gaylesbiantimes.com/links/1089.