Helen, the world's most beautiful woman, the wife of Lord Menelaos of Sparta, left Greece in the company of Paris, the son of Priam, King of Troy. To repossess her, a thousand Greek ships sailed to Troy. Nine years have passed. The Greeks have not achieved their aim. Indeed, after a quarrel between Achilles their leader and Agamemnon their king, the Trojans, led by Paris's brother, Prince Hector, have driven the Greeks off the plain of Troy and back behind the palisade protecting their ships. Achilles refuses to help them. It is night . . .
The scene is set for Cold Calls, the fifth and penultimate instalment of Logue's Homer, an ongoing project - a piece of performance-art for the page rather than the stage - which has taken several decades to unfold, and has been described by Derek Mahon as 'Less a translation than an adaptation. Less an adaptation, in fact, than an original poem of considerable power.'