Watching the Helen production at Getty Villa was a very enjoyable experience. Coming on this fieldtrip without much information on the show we were going to watch, it was a great surprise to learn that it was a new modern adaptation of the traditional Helen play. The location, time and setting of this play was ideal in trying to create an atmosphere that was similar to the way plays were watched in ancient Greece. That was a cool touch. So after having watched this wonderful production and come home to do the response paper, the task of having to choose just one actor to focus on was an arduous task. There were so many actors and actresses that did such a phenomenal job, each displaying so many of their different strengths. At first, I was going to pick Maxwell Caulfield, who played Menelaus, but his humor and pretty well-staged fighting skills didn’t stand a chance against Christopher Rivas’ moving performance as the crippled, emotionally scared Teucer.
Christopher Rivas from the very moment he entered the stage, till the moment his role was over, stayed true to his character, and guided the audience through the different parts of his broken life and shaky mental health. It was a very real and believable portrayal of his character and I will try to explain why through exploring the different techniques we covered in class.
So literally from the beginning to the end of Christopher Rivas’s time on stage, one thing that was quite noteworthy was his entrances and exits. The scene in which we were introduced to him, he makes the setting clear to the audience and guides us through his perspective. Initially it was all Inner-Circle based narrated thoughts. This lens allows us to see the mental imbalance of his character. Much in the same way, when Rivas exits, he does so in a way that reflects all the events that took place in his scene. Through his body language, and more receptive stance, he lets the audience see how his interaction with Helen has changed the way he felt.
The juiciest part of playing Teucer’s character is grasping his eccentric personality and deep-rooted emotional pain. This must require a lot of understanding and emotional exploration of your own in order to do the emotions justice on stage. The exercise we did in class of finding emotional truth in ourselves was definitely evident in Rivas’s work and widely used for his…