Sunday, 20 October 2002

Medea adapted Tom Wright, Oct 20, 2002

By Euripides adapted by Tom Wright  at Horti Hall  
Oct 20 until  November 2, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned Shakespeare said. Medea is the ultimate in vengeful women. Her husband Jason, dumps her for a younger, richer, more influential woman. The King banishes her with her sons under threat of death.

She is a sorceress, which is handy, because the real world is none too kind to women of her ilk. So Medea proceeds to wreak vengeance on Jason  by poisoning the bride's wedding dress and murdering her own little sons to punish Jason.

Daniel Schlusser's  direction focuses on the text. Tom Wright's translation of Euripides play is also influenced by Seneca's Medea.

As Medea, Evelyn Krape  is compelling. Although known for her comic roles, Krape is powerful in this potent and dramatic role.

She restrains Medea's passion until the death of the sons at which time she becomes a snarling harpie.

Amanda Douge  plays the Chorus  with great sympathy and warmth. Tom Wright  plays all three male roles: Jason, Creon and the Tutor. He is strongest as Jason, playing him as a smug,  rich boy.

The set design by Paul Jackson  is simple and effective. Four levels like steps to a Greek temple are framed at rear with cage like wire. 

Dramatic and stark lighting (Paul Jackson, John Ford)  is enhanced by the opaque, smoky air and myriad red candles placed at intervals on the cage.

An interesting element is the emphasis on Euripides statement that Medea 'infects the air'. The gasping, grating breath and references to air and breath are constant.

The play is ancient and passionate. Euripides represents Medea as a wild, black hearted madwoman who is prepared to murder her babies to hurt her faithless husband.

Jason whines that she is wronging him. He is marrying the princess for money to give their boys a better life. What woman could hear this and not go mad?

The problems with the production are with the choreography which is out of sync with the ret of the show.

The abstract movement of the three dancers (Vanessa Rowell, Suzannah Edwards, Victoria Huf) seems intended as metaphor for the emotional inner world of Medea.

 However, it is so obtuse and obtrusive that it interferes with, rather than enhances, the meaning of the text.

Apart from the movement, Medea is a compact and interesting version of the original.

By Kate Herbert

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