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Helen

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Helen - Page Text Content

BC: The End?

FC: 2 0 1 1

1: Photo Shoot

2: The Director | Leah Adcock-Starr

3: The Cast:: Rod, Gretchen, Ali, Mary, & Alexis

4: The Story What if... What if the real Helen of Troy never went to Sparta. What if the gods made a copy of her and sent the copy instead. And Helen wakes up every morning, for seventeen years, in a luxury hotel room. Because that's where they put her.

5: Left practically alone, | with only her thoughts,

6: Her "essentials",

7: Bad TV, flies, and...

8: One Faithful Servant. Once upon a time there was an incident. What shall we call it? An abduction? An elopement? The beginning of the end of the world? An incident.

9: Always taking care of her.

10: She listens, teaches, and nurtures through telling stories..." There's a girl imprisoned in a high tower, or she's chained to a rock..."

12: Until one day she has a visitor. Someone to talk to, laugh, and connect with. Io doesn't have information on the war, but does give Helen some insight on herself, the world, and her future.

13: "We can never go home. We wouldn't recognize it. It wouldn't recognize us. That girls life was not meant to happen." "You're free of her. I wonder what that would be like" "Well she was intelligent. For a cow."

14: Io's Story. I still don't know why it happened in the first place. There I was, a vaguely happy shepherdess, minding my own business, when suddenly a whirlwind descended and lifted me from the lip of the hill. I felt myself bing kneaded like dough, like mud under a chariot wheel, and all the while the wind sighed in my ear speaking to me in some warm language I couldn't understand. (The ravishment of Zeus.)

15: But before whatever was about to happen could happen, everything stopped for a sickening moment and I could hear the approach of something else, a screaming, sliding descent from a vast distance. It sounded like an enormous bird, sharp beak open, talons spread. (Hera, of course. Breaking down the door. Trying to keep Zeus's wick clean.) You could feel the suck of air as she rushed down upon us. But in the second before she arrived I lost my body...He took it from me. Or really, it was more like rags into an urn or something. I looked down and saw my new self-a cow. this tent of a body heaving and echoing like a drum. And all the while I could sense the goddess hovering above me as an eagle hovers over its prey. I tried to scream and that was when I realized the worst of it. That I was mute now as well. All thought, all feeling locked now in my wide, swinging head. A cow. It's been a hell of a thing. And this is the strangest part: it made a kind of awful sense. Even then. Because I had only just arrived at the moment when my body didn't seem to belong to me anymore. Like it wasn't just mine. I could feel this distinct...I don't know...like when I walked past a group of men...Suddenly there was this girl, this other girl, the one they were looking at, who was...well, me, I guess, but also, I mean she was, I was looking at her, at me, with them and I felt what they felt for her which was a kind of... I don't know. You know? YES.

16: "OK. What was that about?" | Helen doesn't understand how Io, who was before her time could end up here.

17: Io and Helen have can relate in some ways. Helen says, "I haven't either. Really talked to anyone. It seems we've both been subject to ...peculiar existences." And later says in frustration, "Everybody ends up here sooner or later. Even the dead. Even the fictitious. And they all carry their stories with them, like balls of wool they wind and rewind over and over. Telling themselves and all their variations, as if they'd never come to an end. As if the echoes were never too faint to hear." "This is impossible. And still no word of the war." Until...

18: Athena Arrives.

19: Athena tells Helen the war has ended. She frightens Helen, yet strengthens her. "You know, sometimes I think WE came up with YOU." "Beauty, it's a hell of a thing."

20: "Would you simmer down, for goodness sake? They can hear you clear back to the ice machine." | "Well, then you won. And you lost. Horribly. But that's true of everyone. It was a very long war."

21: "Well it's not like it wasn't very sad and tragic and momentous and everything, it's just that it took so long. Ten years. I mean, really, who can stay interested? Of course the first few weeks were just plain thrilling...And, oh, the horses, glorious...What a disappointment when everything bogged down and all the boys went underground...Very little entertainment value in a siege. Pretty soon we were stifling yawns and slinking back to our hobbies: archery, jewelry-making, trying to train birds. And still the war went on, unnoticed. For nothing and no one. Not even for you. For some idea of you. Whole populations, whole cities wiped out, and all for a concept...I mean, look at you. You're just some girl. And the big joke of course is that you weren't even there. Oh it seemed like a good idea at the time. Something about glory. You know we've been around for a while, watching you people. The interest was beginning to wear thin. After a while we just wanted something truly epic..we wanted you. The human race itself on the altar, twisting like worms on pavement after a rainstorm. We thought we did. But I began to have my doubts...I remember thinking: Perhaps there was little in the way of glory to be gleaned from this. Menelaus has spent seven years tacking against the wind and puking over the side of his boat only to be blown back to the wrong coast time after time. It's been fun, what can I say?"

22: Helen Fights Back

23: Once I stood at the center of history. It roared around me, whipping at my clothes, howling and breathing its terrible breath on me. But I would turn a face like marble to the world. A face unmarred by thought, serene and closed-up tight as a vault. A face that could hold itself still and unblinking as it was battered by the gazes of the millions. Nothing animated it. It was a mask of perfection. Shining and reflective as a pond. So that when they peered into me, I showed them their own dream of themselves staring back at them, lips parted, inaccessible and spellbound. Beauty. It's a hell of a thing. I never slipped up for a second. They LOVED my feeling! They couldn't get enough of it!

24: The news of the end of the war and Menelaus lost at sea, leads Helen to really wonder if she'll ever get out.

25: Oh it's far from over. They're still sorting everything out on the banks of the river which courses through the basement of the world.One can hear the complaints of Charon, the harried ferryman of the dead. Men in every uniform imaginable line the bank as far as the eye can see. Waiting to cross. This is so familiar, they think. Yet another riverbank, yet another maneuver gone wrong. It will take forever. But happily, forever is exactly what they have now, their only remaining possession. They settle and wait, scratch themselves...Boat after boat he loads with them, each shipload packing itself with an admirable efficiency...The tin helmets chime against each other with every push. But other than that the boat is silent. Even Charon is unnerved by such quiet docility. He shivers in the stillness,...He finds his only solace in watching each boy shed his brief history in the crossing. He sees the mist rise off the water and wreathe itself around the faces of these ancient children. In the course of the slow journey across he can see the coils of each life story loosen and fall, leaving the creases smooth and the fists unclenched as forgetfulness washes over them like a summer rain. The blessing is so complete that by the time the boat nudges the opposite shore, they dazedly tumble out...No more organized than skittering seabirds, their heads lift as they wander up the dim shore. Lit by a vague curiosity, they patter aimlessly into the next world.

26: Helen reflects on Menelaus, and what he must have gone through. "I think he did love me. And perhaps I loved him...But it was so long ago...I can only imagine

27: Visitor number three. "Well, what do you know."

28: Menelaus Returns Very dazed and confused he struggles to understand. | This is his wife? The one he remembers?

30: Helen tries to see if he knows who she is.

31: When he still can't see her for who she is, she listens to his story. | His story of the copy, and her. I've never really been with her. Not once since the beginning. But I've never been without her. Not once since the beginning. It's a hell of a thing."

32: When she's heard enough... | ...she tries again. | This time he sees her. | But he says it's too late.

33: Menelaus pulls away again to explain why. "A generation of men through down their lives in that hellhole for the sake of you." "If you weren't there they died for nothing!" Leaving Helen on her knees.

34: "Let me be her then. Leave her here. I'll play her." | Out of desperation Helen tries one more time to break through.

35: "I'm good. Do you remember how good I am?'

36: But alas... she is left alone. | "I shall die having accomplished nothing. I saw nothing. I heard nothing. My single achievement: I did nothing wrong. I was saved from that. I made no mistakes. I was perfect."

37: Left alone to hear one more story. "Once upon a time there was a woman. She was loved, if you can call it that, or at any rate considered so extraordinary that thousands of copies were made of her, every one of them more durable than the original...With every copy comes another rumor, another narrative spawned. The most famous copy goes on a long voyage and animates a city...She is impartial and pervasive, this cipher, this phantom. And the strange thing is that all this time, the copy has been thinking of her original self, the real Helen, who has lived in seclusion, protected from everything, even narrative."

38: "Literally nothing has happened to that woman. Except that she's aged. As her replicas have not. And during all the years she spent waiting to meet herself, her own story, on its long way home, what has she done? She has dreamed. She has dreamed of a war. A great epic. And a terrible one. A war fought for nothing and costing everything...What can she do with the awesome weight of this story? Her own story. She has a choice, it turns out. She can do one of two things: Either she can maintain her costumes and that body she never knew, keep herself in readiness as best she can for some distant day, almost unimaginable now, when she might tread the boards again in the guise of that sex goddess she has been impersonating since time immemorial: or she could eschew all that, leave it to the other girls, the copies, who do that kind of work so much better than she could ever manage it. Because she might instead do something quite surprising. Something no one sees her do. She might open her eyes. She might lift the lid of her own casket and climb out, then slip through the thicket of thorns in the dead of night into utter invisibility."

39: "And no one would ever hear from her again."

41: But this is what I think. There's a diner in the high desert. It's winter and she is sitting at the counter one afternoon when the blind old man on the stool next to her starts to tell her about himself. (Everyone she meets tells her about themselves, she notices.: He's a storyteller, you see, has been doing it all his life. He can memorize anything he's told after hearing it only once. It's a gift, you see. "Everybody's got a story," he says, "did you ever notice that?" She's smiling now, this ancient woman, crumbling crackers in the old man's soup for him. He can't see her, of course, but he can tell she was probably beautiful once; it's like a scent that comes off her. But they're so old, these two, that they look like twins. It's hard to say who's the woman and who's the man-that's how ancient they are. A silence comes over the place. It's late in the afternoon, no one's in there but the two of them, sitting at the counter. It's snowing outside and the steam rises from their bowls and makes her eyes shine. And then as she hands him his spoon, he catches her hand, the blind poet, and he says the thing she's been waiting all her life to hear. He says: "Tell me a story." And she opens her mouth at last. And she does.

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  • By: Gretchen P.
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