Most Thursday and Friday nights for the past decade I could be found hard at work...laughing in an aisle seat.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Tragedy tonight! (and tomorrow!)
I'm not reviewing Heritage Theatre Group's production of "Medea" for any paying client, but it sounded intriguing, and since my good friend Sherryl Despres performs the title role, I had to take in Wednesday's dress rehearsal. OMG. That's one intense experience. You can't expect a Greek tragedy to be fun, though Diane Rayor's translation is so down-to-earth in spots that Jason (Michael Dodge) made me laugh in his casual description of how a wife might feel if her husband takes a new lover. The Greeks weren't trying to make us laugh, their goal was catharsis, a purging of all those negative feelings, which they figured was almost as healing as a good laugh. They wanted to create a situation so revolting that it would churn your insides and then expel it all in a freeing gush at the end. "Medea" certainly achieves that goal. The depth of Medea's seething anger is hard to comprehend, though Sherryl's performance did give me a few flashbacks to my own murderous thoughts as I went through divorce thirty years ago. Although her horrifying revenge takes place off stage, the detailed description of the deaths of her victims created the desired revulsion, topped by Medea's almost orgasmic delight at hearing the news. The obligatory Greek Chorus is particularly well done with CJ Namenye, Amy Groen and Stacy Schram singing the lines, in harmony, to original music by Todd Lewis. Unfortunately, most of the lines spoken off stage, before Medea enters, are lost, and even the off-stage interchange with her children later, though amplified, lacks believability. The costumes are beautiful and the set provides a variety of levels to keep the action moving. Kudos to director Karen Libman, all the cast and translator Diane Rayor for a truly tragic production.