Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History of Helen of Troy

Available in Library

Teenage Charlotte's beautiful mother is dead. Turning for comfort to the story of Helen of Troy, Charlotte is convinced that beauty, desire and fame can help her bring her mother back and punish the world that took her away in the first place. Getting beauty tips from her popular friend, seeking career advice on how to be a porn star from a guidance counselor who may or may not be having an affair with her, and searching for love from the football jock who barely even knows she exists, Charlotte finds herself searching in fantasy for what she cannot find in reality and destroying the life of the only friend she may have had in the process. But in the depths of pain, she comes to discover an unexpected grace.

Inspired by Euripides but with its sights set firmly on contemporary America, Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History of Helen of Troy is an unsettling examination of complacency culture and the politics of beauty.

Alana Dietze in Echo Theatre Company's 2010 production, dir. John Lawler
Jason Jurman and Laura Heisler in Soho Rep's 2005 production, dir. Daniel Aukin
Caroline Neff and Peter Moore in Steep Theatre Company's 2010 production, dir. Joanie Schultz
Andrea Riseborough and Jaimi Barbakoff in the Actor's Touring Company 2005 production, dir. Gordon Anderson
Theresa Baldwin in Capital T Theatre's 2006 production, dir. Mark Pickell

Read Sample

SCENE ONE

(Lights snap on. CHARLOTTE center. Surrounded by packed bags. HARRY, her father, in the doorway. Smoking. Calmly. A long pause. )

CHARLOTTE
Nothing you can say. By the way. Just to let you know. In case you’re wondering. If you, I mean, if you thought. Anything. Don’t. Okay? That’s all. I’m decided. These are my bags and I’m leaving and it’s decided and you can’t say anything. Okay? You can’t.

HARRY
Right.

CHARLOTTE
I am determined.

HARRY
Okay.

CHARLOTTE
And I would say, I love you, Daddy. But I’m not sure I do. Anymore. So.

HARRY
Oh. Sure. Yeah.

CHARLOTTE
So this is goodbye.

HARRY
Right.

(Beat.)

CHARLOTTE
I am so resolved. I am so ready. There is a world and I will see it. And you won’t stop me. I will have adventures. I will be like an explorer. I will make new friends. I will fall in love. I will be like Christopher Columbus or Francis Drake or like Magellan or whatever. Because there is a world and I am determined. And when I come back? If I come back? No one will recognize me. I will be like a movie star or like a famous person and no one will recognize me and I will see through everyone. I will see through everyone. Even you. I will look right through you and you will look at me, and you’ll think to yourself who the hell is that and I’ll just smile at you. I’ll just smile and I’ll mumble something like profound or something really famous like a famous something like what someone famous would say because that’s who I’ll be because I’ll know a lot more, I’ll know a hell of a lot more when I come back. Or maybe I’ll just say, “Fuck you” because I can see through you. Fuck you. Under my breath. To the wall. To the fucking wall. I’ll see through you to the fucking wall and you won’t even know that you’re nothing to me. And I’ll say fuck you and you’ll think Is she talking to me? and you won’t even know.

You are a ghost to me. And I don’t care. Everyone a fucking ghost. Everyone. And I’m the only one. I’m the only one who means more than you or anyone else.

(Beat.)

HARRY
Honey?

CHARLOTTE
What.

HARRY
Where is this coming from? Do I need this now? Do you think I need this now? I don’t think I need this now.

CHARLOTTE
This is the truth. Daddy.

HARRY
The truth. Okay.
(beat)
I’m gonna tell you.

CHARLOTTE
What.

HARRY
You’re not very pretty. I mean, you know you’re not very pretty. Right? I mean, not like your mom. Right? Okay. And those—that acne? That’s what it is. It’s acne. You have acne. People don’t like acne. Famous people? They like pretty. They hate acne. I’m just telling you. That’s the truth. That’s the real world. So you know. These are the breaks. I like your luggage. It’s a really nice pattern. Francis Drake was a pirate, and Christopher Columbus was an asshole. Right? I mean, you know. You’re just not very pretty, honey.

CHARLOTTE
I know.

HARRY
Okay. So you know. Truth. So.

CHARLOTTE
So.

HARRY
Stay. Don’t do this.

Cast Requirements

2 Women
4 Men

Honors

2005 Newsday Oppenheimer Award
2006 Kesselring Prize

Publisher

Dramatists Play Service
Oberon
Felix Bloch Erben (German title: Alles wird anders. Eine kurze Geschichte der Schönen Helena)

Press

"Bang on the money portrait of adolescent angst…provocative delight from start to finish." —Daily Telegraph (UK)

See More

Press

"One of the sassiest and savviest pieces of new writing for some time…an astonishing piece of work on every level." —Herald (Scotland)

"For the last 20 minutes, a climax of awful pity, I think the entire audience was actually holding its breath. But despite staying as still as possible, "Everything Will Be Different" still hunted us down and slayed us, every one." —The New York Sun

"It takes an uncommonly sensitive playwright to probe the psyche of such a troubled child and an unusually gifted actress to play her sympathetically. Scribe Mark Schultz and youthful thesp Laura Heisler pull off this high-wire tightrope act with gravity and grace in "Everything Will Be Different," a production that's all the more satisfying for being so dangerously funny." —Variety

"This play pulls no punches in its portrayal of cruelty, and there are points when you want to look away, which is not a criticism at all. Mr. Schultz is a sensitive, ambitious writer .... —The New York Times

Production and Development History

2005--Soho Rep and True Love Productions, New York, NY
2005--Actor's Touring Company, UK Tour
2006--Capital T Theatre, Austin, TX
2007--Mad Cat Theatre, Miami, FL
2008--Lynx Performance Theatre, San Diego, CA
2008--Stray Cat Theater, Phoenix, AZ
2009--Playground Collective, Wellington, New Zealand
2010--Steep Theatre Company, Chicago, IL
2010--Echo Theatre Company, Los Angeles, CA
2012--Proxy Theatre, San Antonio, TX
2015--Catastrophic Theatre, Houston, TX