The phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” probably has roots in the story of Medea, although back then it would’ve been “Hades hath no fury like a woman scorned.” One of the oldest stories still performed today (first performed in 431 BCE by some hack called Euripides), Medea is the story of a woman pushed too far and her desperate acts of vengeance. It just opened up at Throughline Theatre Company.
Medea recounts the tale of Medea and her husband Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts). Jason has arranged to be married to the daughter of Creon, the King of Corinth. This betrayal sets Medea off into a rage that starts her down a deadly path for revenge. A (Greek) chorus of women empathize and try to reason with her, but Medea’s emotions consume her and cause her to perform some deadly deeds.
Although she is a touch…insane, one has to admire the way Medea sets a plan and manipulates the men around her. She knows when to kiss her husband’s ass and when to charm the King of Athens to get what she wants. Her madness does eventually take over when she commits her most heinous act, although she does have a brief moment of hesitation that is undoubtedly the last shred of humanity in her dying. Kaitlin Kerr rips into the role, emanating real fury and anger that shines strong in her eyes.
Medea spends most of her time on the platform center stage while all the other characters come to her, physically suggesting that Medea is always the one in control. The Greek chorus seem to act like different aspects of Medea’s psyche, each having their own viewpoint towards the action going on. One chorus member is always rational, one sympathetic, one wears a bitchy smirk, and so on. As the play goes on most members of the chorus are saddened and fed up with Medea, proof that she has lost herself and become monstrous.
The story is done as one long scene, characters entering and exiting with no breaks. Lighting shifts and a musical soundtrack like to spell out when the important emotional moments are happening, although at times the music could distract from the action. There is a sort of stripped-down Greek feel to the production, which makes sense as it’s more of a character play than a technical showcase. Some bits are a tad modernized, namely Jason who wears a headband, white pants with pockets, and glasses. I’ll assume it was done this way to make him less intimidating to Medea, as it looks like the last quest this guy led was getting to a poetry slam at a coffee shop.
Medea is a great character piece, especially for those interested in the psychology of a woman who in this day and age would probably need medication. Her actions do have a strong feminist theme; she will not simply slink away and be defeated, she will take revenge on the ones who’ve wronged her and leave on top with her head held up high. But it’s not an uplifting story, because even when she succeeds Medea still lives in tragedy.
Presented by Throughline Theatre Company
Directed by Michael McBurney
Written by Euripides
Designed by Tina Marie Cerny (scenery), Kim Brown (costumes), Jordana Rosenfeld (lighting), Joseph A. Walker (sound), Maryane Kimbler (props)
Starring Sara Barbisch (Nurse), Stern Herd (Tutor), Kaitlin Kerr (Medea), Elizabeth Farina (Chorus Leader), Ursula Asmus Sears (Chorus), Lisa DePasquale (Chorus), Elena Falgione (Chorus), Marsha Mayhak (Chorus), John Feightner (Creon), Michael Brewer (Jason), Kevin H. Moore (Aegeus), Casey Cunningham (Messenger), Luke Malatak (Child), Jackson Southern (Child)
The show runs until July 25th. Tickets can be purchased here.
Performance Date: Friday, July 17, 2015