- OTHER MEDIA
- 'Medea' takes a 1950s tone
- San Francisco Chronicle April 17, 2008 (Robert Hurwitt)
- Unfaithful husbands take note: Even the most clueless Jason, dreaming
his life away in '50s suburbia, should take heed when Medea starts singing
"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do."
- Nebunele Theatre Company, the strangely creative (the name means "little
crazies" in Romanian) Seattle company that lit up the 2005 Fringe
Festival with the beguiling "The Secret Ruths of Island House,"
is back at Exit Theatre with a curious Eisenhower-era take on Euripides'
timeless tragedy of the fury of a woman scorned.
- It's the third offering in an accidental Bay Area Euripides festival.
A modern rewrite of "The Trojan Women" opened Thursday at Aurora
Theatre. RubberMatchSeriez opened its own "Medea" on Friday.
Nebunele's "Medea Knows Best" received its world premiere Saturday,
commissioned by Exit to anchor this year's DIVAfest.
- As seen at Friday's final preview, it still needed some tightening
to achieve the enchanting polish of "Ruths," but it contains
considerable pleasures even in its apparent unfinished state. Nebunele
co-founders Alissa Mortenson and Claytie Mason, who also wrote "Ruths,"
have reimagined the tragedy as a deceptively light satire on the stifling
conformity of the '50s, with a tragic sucker punch at the end.
- Framed within a giant TV set, Nebunele's Corinth is a storybook suburb
of childlike pastel houses, plastic flowers and tidily groomed homemakers
with creepily determined smiles: the terrifically tuneful trio of Mortenson,
Yana Kesala and Brynna Jourden, warbling Marc Smason's bright doo-wop arrangements.
It's a plastic, commercialized, regimented world run by a Bert Parks-like
CEO, Creon (David Edwards), but it looks like an Edenic refuge to Heather
Persinger and Laurence Hughes' desperate Medea and Jason when they pass
through the TV screen from the war-torn world outside.
- The regimentation is a bit too repetitiously depicted at this point,
the actors need to pick up their cues better, and director Mason needs
to tighten the pacing throughout. But given its short rehearsal period,
it's a good bet that "Medea" will be in better shape by the time
it reopens tonight. Even as seen in preview, it's a devilishly clever rethinking
of the classic, with the seeds of this repressed, asexualized Corinth's
destruction sown not in myth or fate but in the unfettered curiosity of
Creon's teenage daughter (a radiant Davie-Blue crooning a fraught "I'm
so Lonesome I Could Cry").
- And keep your eye on the babies. This may seem like pretty light fare
for much of the evening, but it's never safe to underestimate "Medea."