Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Medea

Is there anything new and fresh that a fledging theatre company can bring to the oft-told ancient story of Medea? Yes, as it happens. The inaugural show from Wide Eyed Productions doesn't fuss much with the popular Gilbert Murray translation of the play - the dialogue is as it has often been heard for about a hundred years - yet this production has an intimacy and a restraint that make it identifiably contemporary and emotionally immediate. As judiciously played by Amy Lee Pearsall, this Medea is a trapped and broken woman whose extreme actions are made to seem logical, inevitable: even in the wake of her horrific crime, it's possible to understand her psychology and to identify it as all too human. While the production doesn't quite pull off its anachronistic design concept (among the Chorus, there's a dagger on one man's belt loop while another man carries a briefcase) the ensemble, under Kristin Skye Hoffmann's sharp direction, more than compensates by ably mining modern characterizations from the text. I'll certainly be on the lookout for what Wide Eyed does next.

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