En Garde Arts presents Helen.
WHAT IS THIS ABOUT?
With top-speed language, irreverent humor and dynamic physicality, Helen. is a story you know told in a way that you don’t. A wild adventure of paths crossing – of mothers and myths and memories and monsters – Caitlin George’s new play takes you on a journey whose experience is greater than the sum of its parts. Helen. invites you to leap into the unknown, and revel in the unexpected.
What is Helen. about?
In a world of tightly-bound conventions, the god of chaos watches three sisters talk about laundry, grout maintenance, and family planning as they wait for their mother’s wake to end, or a wedding to begin. Chaos undoes a button…and Helen, the youngest sister, tears loose from the constrictions of home, husbands, and obligations to seek adventure. Again and again, we see Helen grasp at opportunities only to be flung back through time to where she started. As the time loops, accumulates, and bursts, Helen is sent spiraling, banished from home, past the point of no return. A funny, feminist riff on a familiar myth, Helen. excavates our mothers from history and asks what the future holds for our daughters.
A play with movement that excavates the stories of three mythic women.
- 13- 29 October, 2023
- La MaMa
Helen. is the story of three sisters: one who thrives in the humdrum, one who wishes she would, and one who leaves in search of something else.
The play begins with three sisters bound in the home space, the god of Discord hovering above them, waiting for something. Then, one of them loses a button. It’s a little thing, but it opens an opportunity for the unexpected. Helen leaves her home, her husband, and her daughter behind to set out on a journey.
Helen. aims to contextualize marginalization of women, in history and myth. Looking back at these figures, we encounter a tension between what we want these icons to be and what actions they are allowed by their time. Our options are to reimagine them, faults glossed over, or to engage directly with the realities of their circumstance. Thus, excavating what we can from their successes and learning from their limitations.
In this play, Helen asks her own questions, alongside the questions of those who’ve inherited her story. As Laurel Thatcher-Ulrich says in her book “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History,” the goal is “not to lament their oppression, but to give them a history.”
Helen. excavates the stories of three mythic women, whose identities are most often painted from male perspectives.
WHO IS BEHIND HELEN?
Violeta Picayo (she, her) (director) is a bilingual Cuban-American director, actor, and choreographer. A born and raised New Yorker, she is passionate about creating works of and for her home city. Guided by a deep interest in the inherited body, Violeta has made her artistic home with some of New York’s most dynamic theater companies. She is an associate artist of SITI Company, and a company member at Bedlam and at One Year Lease. Violeta recently directed the world premiere of The Strangers Came Today by Emily Zemba (Society, The New Ohio). Internationally she has worked in Argentina, Greece, India, Scotland, and England. Violeta is a proud graduate of Vassar College, the National Theater Institute, and the SITI Conservatory.
Caitlin George (she, her) (writer) is an Australian playwright, actor, and theatre-maker currently based out of Melbourne, Australia. Her work has taken her out of her small Australian hometown and around the world. As a playwright, she is interested in questioning the ubiquitous cultural behaviours around feminine social roles. She believes that by looking back to where we’ve come from, we can better understand where we are and where we can go. Caitlin graduated from BAPA’s acting program in 2014 and the 2016/17 SITI Conservatory.
The SuperGeographics create bold new works which build equity between traditionally dominant and pervasively marginalized cultures & bodies. The plays exchange images and ideas, challenge form, and prioritize the highly athletic, textually bold, and intellectually rigorous. Built of artists from across the globe the company’s work has been seen in The US, Chile, Sweden, and India.