My Favorite Character in a Play

Myself as Helena, and the talented, (and excellent friend) Samantha Murray as Hermia.Last week, Lyn Gardner at the Guardian UK wrote about her favorite heroine, Antigone. She finds her flaws as endearing as her strengths. Ms. Gardner continues to explore, realizing that her tastes, and her relatability to characters have definitely changed as she has grown and aged. A great read, with great comments!

So, who is mine? My immediate impulse is Helena. I have never enjoyed playing a role more. Physical, funny, lovestruck, idealistic Helena.

But it’s more than that. She’s so pathetic, and manipulative, but completely steadfast in her love. She is the only one that sees beyond Demetrius’ braggadocio to know that a man capable of tenderness lies beneath. She withstands abuse, treks the wilderness, and never, never wavers.

At the same time, she maintains her friendship with Hermia. In a time of Real Housewives, where women display catty behavior, backstab, and fight each other, this is a truly noticeable trait. Helena recognizes that Hermia really is not to blame for Demetrius’ distraction. And even when the girls have their Real Housewives-esque catfight, it’s Helena that calls for peace. It’s Helena that would rather leave, run away, even cease following Demetrius, to keep some semblance of peace with Hermia.

Helena teaches us about relationships. How they change as we grow. How are girlfriends are our first friends, but those relationships can be supplanted by romantic ones later in life. But also, that if you have a good friend, they are worth a sacrifice to keep.

I have learned that no man is worth the death of a friendship. That women can, indeed, be vicious and vindictive, but friendship is still a choice, even then. That true friends can disagree, or even fight with you, and still love you when it’s done.

And where I am in my life definitely affects how I view Helena. Divorced, but young, so I want that dedicated love she longs for from Demetrius. I’ve already experienced heartbreak, as well as the demise of friendships. And have come to deeply value my friends. At 30, I’m no longer the romantic, dreamy girl Helena is. However, I’d like to think I’m capable of her loyalty- in love and friendship.

Some of my other thoughts: Mainly women I want to play- Stella in Streetcar and Emily in Our Town (2 very different American women), Ophelia (another broken, loving girl, but this time one who lets love break her), Cordelia (loving, loyal and fierce), Clea in Black Comedy (not so much a heroine, but funny and sexy as hell). I would love to hear your thoughts! Both on my choice, and your own!