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Theater Notes: Get Thee to Medea

By Staff | Mar 24, 2011

There is a powerful, compelling and near perfect rendition of Euripides’ “Medea” on the boards at Theatre Conspiracy. This is what theater was meant to be. And what a grand production of this classic Bill Taylor, the director, has brought to us. You won’t want to miss it, even if you’ve seen it before, and even if you don’t want theater where you get shaken up and confronted for the entire length of the evening. It’s worth every moment.

Lauren Drexler plays Medea. We have seen her bring glory to important roles from way back when she stunned us in “Becoming Eleanor.” Medea is the role of her lifetime, one she alone was destined to play for us. I have the highest respect for what she has brought to this outstanding production of “Medea.”

The story haunts us right from the opening scene. A marvelous monologue by The Nurse, played by the gifted Joy Davidson, tells us of Jason’s abandonment of his wife, Medea, and their two sons, leaving Medea in favor of King Creon’s young daughter. Medea determines to get even with Jason.

With that we’re launched into a story of hatred, vengeance, jealousy, and the insanity of revenge. A debris field of lives turned upside down is revealed scene after scene.

Much of the credit for the success of this production must go to Taylor. He earns accolades for perfect casting. There’s not a bad performance from anyone. Kudos to him, too, for mounting the impending tragedy with such grace and wisdom. Euripides helped, of course. It’s one of the greatest plays among the Greek tragedies, plays that shaped theater forever. But Taylor also designed the set and did the lighting. Tiffany Campbell ran the lighting and sound board. There was not a flaw in any of the production values.

But it is the performances that made the evening so gripping and moving. Drexler’s, of course. You will be dazzled by what she does. Jesse St. Louis brought Jason to life with all the raw sexual ambition and the greedy wrong choices he made. Creon (Jim Yarnes) was appropriately evil. Aegus, played by Scott Tomson, showed us a friend who doesn’t deliver, and Louise Wigglesworth led the Greek Chorus like the pro she is. All the bit parts contributed to the total impact of this production. And that included Medea’s two sons, ably played by young Everett Taylor and Alex Svoboda; Steve Hooper as the Tutor, and another Taylor, August, tall and stately, playing both a Guard and a Soldier in different scenes.

The play kept intensifying, until the inevitable tragic climax brought the audience to their feet. I doubt if anyone watching was unmoved. I urge you to go see “Medea.” It is such a way to celebrate what live theater can add to your life. Bring friends. I guarantee that the talk on the way home will not be small talk.

“Medea” plays March 24, 26, 31 and April 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. at the Foulds Theatre of Alliance for the Arts. Call the box office at (239) 936-3239, or purchase tickets on-line at www.theatreconspiracy.org Come see Live Theater at it’s best. Get thee to “Medea!”