|Royer Bokus, Kevin Kenerly & Daisuke Tsuji|
But since Shakespeare does not write fairy tales, Bertram is not interested; and because the Bard will not let him off that easy, he is still forced to marry her in order to please the king. Not to be outsmarted for long, Bertram heads to war in neighboring Italy, wedded but not bedded with his new bride, leaving her a note that he will never be her husband in more than name only until she is wearing a ring he did not give her and bears his child even though he refuses to sleep with her. And all this is only the set-up for a wild and wooly roller-coaster ride still to come before we can ever come close to an ending, well or not well.
As Helen proceeds to the Paris royal court, heals the king, marries, and then is immediately abandoned, she begins to gain a stubborn streak of inner strength and a resolve to steer her own course of destiny, with her high-pitched voice slowly taking on more maturity and her teen flightiness settling into a maturity older and more sagacious than her young years. At the same time, she retains a spontaneity that allows her to pick up a ukulele and sing with a country twang her clear confidence in the course she is charting for herself to win back her husband. She also continues to exude a spirit full of contagious energy as exhibited when she enters Florence with mike in hand, lip-singing a diva-like anthem declaring in her own unique way, ‘Watch out, I am here.’ Through it all, Royer Bockus is a Helen who may find herself in 1600 France but who has modernity emblazoned in her every move. Through it all, Royer Bockus rocks as a Helen to relish and remember.
|Crisofer Jean, Daisuke Tsuji & Al Espinosa|
On the opposite end with little-recognized wisdom but still on the high end of being smart and smart-aleck in her own unique ways is the Clown, K.T. Vogt’s. Her gender-bending persona is reason enough – among many competitive ones – for everyone to buy a ticket to attend this OSF gem of an evening. Wearing a baggy outfit resembling a patchwork quilt of patterned rags and donning hair that stands straight up almost a foot high, her Clown is a sharp-witted commenter on the foibles and weaknesses of humankind in general and of those in particular she meets along the way in both France and Italy. Many laugh-out-loud moments occur thanks to Clown’s antics, with audience members leaving never able to see another Cheetos again without laughing out loud.
|Royer Bokus, Brooke Ishibashi & Lauren Modica|
Lauren Modica is a Widow of Florence whose home for female pilgrims, like the arriving Helen, is both a refuge and a fountain of support built from her forthcoming compassion and her strong will. Along with her daughter, Diana, they provide Helen the female fortitude to inspire and execute a collective plan of deceit to trick her husband into wedded honesty. Brooke Ishibashi excels as her Diana coolly stands up to the King and plays a coy game with him of ‘guess-what-I-am-saying’ while she slowly unravels a clutter of mysteries just as the King is ready to have her executed and imprison his own son.