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Scheming women, manipulative men and a case of mistaken identity. Sound like a fall prime-time melodrama? Actually, it?s a centuries-old play, newly updated and now showing at the Getty Villa amphitheater.

The exciting production is Euripides? Helen, which premieres tomorrow at 8 p.m. and runs through September 29. Writer Nick Salamone and the Playwrights? Arena team have transposed the action to take place in Hollywood?s Golden Age, and Maxwell Caulfield stars in the drama amid high glamour, half-naked men and lush music. 

Unlike more commonly performed Euripides plays such as Medea and The Bacchae, this isn?t a tragedy but a romantic drama--in fact, it?s a crafty retelling of Euripides? The Trojan Women (which he had written three years earlier). In this tale, instead of going to Troy, Helen is secretly stranded on an island for 17 years, having been replaced by a body double back home. When the duplicity is revealed, madcap comedy and pathos ensue. 

The Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater is a cozy outdoor semicircle based on ancient proportions and set high above the crashing Pacific. We?ll be making a night of it, showing up early to browse classical antiquities in the villas before picking up a preordered box dinner as the lights--and Hollywood high jinks--go down. 

The Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades; 310-440-7300 or

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