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Medea Review Lacked Intellectual Rigor

Medea Review Lacked Intellectual Rigor

At the request of a friend I saw Medea last week. I was very dismayed at the review that I read in The Tech ["Strong scenery adds nice touch to plain Medea," April 30] about the production. As a avid theater-goer, I sometimes depend on reviews to prevent me from wasting my money on bad productions. Luckily I didn't consult The Tech before seeing this play.

The review seemed intellectually lazy. It blithely called the Medea portrayed in the play an unbalanced, static character, and it did not fully realize the value of the dialogue between Medea and Jason. The audience should be well aware of what type of person Medea is before seeing the play. In Greek mythology, Medea is a classic example of one who goes to hell despite good intentions. She commits crimes not for herself, but out of a pure, selfless, divine love for Jason. She is a visitor from a dark land, trying to fit in with the "good" land of the Greeks. Yet the enormity of her acts make them unforgivable. Medea is naturally disaffected, the only thing that has made her break out of this is love. The audience does not even need to know this before seeing the play, all of this is clearly stated in the script. Medea should not be written off as unstable, period.

Further, Medea is anything but a static character in this play. If she were, then there would have been no reason for her to call upon evil to purge any natural good from her. If she were static, then she would have not called on Jason to express any doubt. If she were static, would she have so clearly broken at the news of Jason's marriage? Medea may seem static because much of her character has been developed before the play begins. In fact, the play begins at the end of the story of Medea. It is a picture of the transformation of Medea being for someone else to Medea being for herself. She is literally breaking away from Eros' arrow.

I won't even comment on the importance of the dialogue between Jason and Medea. Some of the monologues were theatrical devices called soliloquies. One is not expected to be able to hear a character think. With the common attention span of the average American, some of them may have been a little long.

Dramashop did a decent job of performing the play. The device of the motion picture backdrop was fabulous. It was like the persistence of memory among two people who have had love turn to bitterness and hate. Personally, I didn't get too distracted by it. The stage play basically stopped during it, and I had no problem listening to Jason's narrative. Among other pluses, the casting was clever. Generally, the play was all right.

Please be more careful when writing reviews. Keep in mind that this is a college performance, not a Broadway production. I hope that I am not being too offensive, but I think it isn't very just to the people who worked hard to put on the performance to blow the production off without some more careful analysis. I, at least, would like to trust the reviews a little more.

Joel P. Johnson '97