Helen of Troy Revisited
By Wolfgang Hildesheimer
Directed by David Fenerty
January 23 thru February 21, 2004
Helen of Troy (Revised) - Das Opfer Helena - was first performed as a radio play in 1955 and soon thereafter won a prize from a German war veteran's group. It was staged as a two-act play in 1965, and even later set to music. The piece is more timely than ever, given recent events in U.S. and world history.
Wolfgang Hildesheimer (1916-1991) was born in Hamburg, Germany, the son of a middle-class Jewish family. Hildesheimer lived in both England and what is now Israel after emigrating when Hitler came to power in 1933. He would later return to Germany as an interpreter for the Nuremberg war trials.
Along the way he studied carpentry, drawing, stage design and interior design. In post-war Germany he was a member of the the 47 Group, an iconoclastic association of young writers (including Heinrich Böll, Ingeborg Bachmann, Paul Celan, Arno Schmidt, Peter Weiss and Günter Grass). In 1957, Hildesheimer moved to Switzerland, where he lived until his death in 1991.
Hildesheimer is probably best known in English-speaking countries for his biography of Mozart, but he also wrote numerous novels (Marbot,Tynset), short stories (Loveless Legends), translations and essays. In the 1980s, he gave up writing for publication, and concentrated instead on his book illustrations, paintings, drawings and prints.
Cast and Biographies
Heidi Hooker (Helen) has been acting and teaching drama around the Bay Area for the past six years. Most recently, she has enjoyed performing in Anton in Show Business with Palo Alto Players and Extremities at Walnut Creek's Dean Lesher Center; understudying On Golden Pond at TheatreWorks; and performing in Macbeth with Marin Shakespeare Company. Previously, she has performed with SF's Tony 'n Tina's Wedding, Eastenders Repertory Company at the Eureka Theatre, the Phoenix Theatre, Calaveras Repertory Theatre, Ross Valley Players, Hayward's Little Theatre, the San Leandro Shakespeare Festival, and the Altarena Playhouse. She received an Arty Award for Best Lead Actress (2000) for her portrayal of Inez in MIRA Theatre's No Exit. She has studied with Richard Seyd, Bobby Weinapple, Jeffrey Bihr, A.C.T., Full Circle Productions, and The New Actor's Workshop (in N.Y.C.).
Hal Schneider (Menelaos) is giving his first Bay Area performance. Two years ago at this time he was living in Alaska and rehearsing a play, with a case of pneumonia, in a warehouse at 10 degrees Fahrenheit. When in India the year before, cows wanted to make love to him (They weren't mad cows, that's different) and purple rain fell from the sky on Kerala. He gets along equally well with CIA agents and Evil Geniuses from Switzerland who are adept at mind-reading (It's all true). He's glad to finally be in Berkeley where things have been relatively normal.
Janelle Carta (Hermione) is currently a Theatre student at San Francisco State University. This is Janelle’s first performance with The Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. She has however performed in such shows as The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Boo), Twelfth Night (Viola), The Heiress (Mrs. Montgomery), and I Want to be a Boarder (Emma Goldman and others). Beginning in February, she will be performing in School for Husbands, The Ruffian on the Stair, and in Miss Julie with SFSU’s Brown Bag Theatre Company. Janelle would like to add a big thank you for her wonderful support group: Mom, Dad, Joe, and God.
Tadamori Yagi (Paris) was first drawn to acting as a way to meet people. He has studied acting for almost seven years at various places including: UC Berkeley, ACT Summer Training Congress, and Berkeley Rep. Last summer he apprenticed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival where he played ensemble parts in main stage productions of Travesties and Landscape of the Body. In addition he has performed with various companies including The John Cage Foundation, Cross Current Productions, and Theatre Rice. Currently he is seeking professional representation while auditioning locally for plays and films. Tadamori would like to thank his family and friends for their support.
David Fenerty (Director) may be familiar to AE audiences from his performances in Rough Crossing, Travesties, Three Sisters, A Long Day’s Journey Into Night and The Bacchae, but this is the first play he has directed for AE. David would like to thank the AE board, his great cast and his hard-working production staff -- especially Wendy, Fel, Bob and David R.
Stage Manager, Set Painter, Sound Design