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Strong scenery adds nice touch to plain Medea

Medea

Written by Jean Anouilh.

Directed by Michael Ouellette.

Starring Ivana Komarcevic '96, Sarah Sallen, Eren Munir, Linda Tsang '96, Dan C. Dobbs '97, Manish Goyal '95, MacMurray D. Whale G, David J. Day '98, and Jay Henderson '96.

May 24, Kresge Little Theatre. 8 p.m.

By David V Rodriguez
ASSOCIATE ARTS EDITOR

There is no curtain to rise for Dramashop's production of Medea; instead, as the audience enters, two children are innocently playing on the stage while their mother, Medea (Ivana Komarcevic '96), looks on. The ultimate story of Medea is of a woman who kills her children and herself to teach her ex-husband a lesson, and the story relies heavily the audience's knowledge of the future to be effective.

The setting is an industrial sector of a large city in an unspecified time. Jason (MacMurray D. Whale G), the ex-husband, is living inside Creon's castle and will soon marry another woman. Medea is with her children and her nurse when she is visited by Creon (Manishi Goyal '95) and told that she must leave the city and that Jason wants nothing to do with her. Soon after, Jason arrives and most of the play is then recounting the problems of their marriage and why he is leaving her.

From the beginning of the play, we know Medea is unstable. She is dressed in black pants and a black tank top and looks a bit like Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2. She spends a good deal of time yelling, often at nobody in particular. The most telling trait is the way she speaks of herself in the third person ("This carcass of Medea") which draws a picture of someone capable of acting without thinking of herself.

If the audience didn't know where the story was headed, most of the dialogue would seem unimportant: Medea and Jason are troubled souls thinking aloud. Their being together doesn't add much to the play because there is little difference between the conversations and the monologues. And it doesn't feel as if much is accomplished in these conversations since we know what the end will be. This could be the opportunity to show Medea's transformation, but Medea looks insane from the beginning, so it's hard to believe there is much of a change happening.

The most impressive aspect of the show is the production side. The background - a large and unspecified industrial something - was very good, as was the sound. At one point in the play, the lights dimmed and the background was used as a screen for a black and white silent film - an interesting effect, but it distracted me from Jason's monologue when the movie changed to a chase scene.