Saturday, November 21, 2015

Medea may be you

by Jenni Morin

Medea often comes to mind as the quintessential Greek tragedy, but the genre is not always welcome or easy to digest. The Classic Theatre roaringly resurrects Euripides’ classic with an abridged version perfect for modern consumption.

Georgette Lockwood as Medea at The Classic
Theatre of San Antonio. Photo by Siggi Ragnar.
Mark Stringham’s original adaptation re-evaluates the notion that women are the weaker sex, giving new resilience, life and resolve to the ancient tale of a woman scorned. After carrying out the assassinations of both her brother and father king for the love of Jason, Medea and her husband flee. No sooner than she bears him children, he abandons them, only to return to take another bride. Wrought with grief and desperation, Medea resorts to homicide to protect her children and ruin her unfaithful husband. As director and writer Stringham points out, the end is always the same—however, it is the journey and twists that lead there open for interpretation.

In painstaking detail, the Classic’s production of Medea simultaneously transports audiences to ancient Greece while alluding to the present. Allan S. Ross’ thrust set is chock with symbolism as the crumbling columns give way to modern steel beams, plastic sheeting is used for curtains, and bolt heads on the angular steps provide industrial accents to the faux mosaic tile floor with Greek frets, compliments of Scenic Artist Kendall Davila. Composer & Musical Director John Coker immerses the audience in an undulating chorus of what sounds like rattlesnakes and katydids prior to curtain, then continues with ominous orchestrations providing a deep vibration of revenge, followed by an eerie electric organ. The period appropriate and detailed costumes by Vanessa J. Lopez move seamlessly with Susan Trevino’s beautifully stylised choreography. The undertone of the piece is furthered by Kaitlin Muse’s dramatic lighting, always featuring a tinge of blood.

Medea may be one of the more vile Greek tragedies as it is nearly impossible for audiences to conceive of a mother killing her children. However, given what the media has reported over recent years, it is perhaps more conceivable, but equally as horrifying, which Stringham is careful to include in his adaptation. His approachable adaptation condenses all the action into such an emotionally saturated hour, it doesn’t lack a drop of the original’s tragedy while it attempts to makeover Medea’s infamous image. Medea becomes a symbol of strength and resolve, confident in her power of destruction, rather than the popular and easier label of weak, scorned, and mentally unstable woman. While she may not be a role model in action, perhaps her legacy can evolve into that of a woman forced to carry out an unfathomably difficult decision for the ultimate well-being of her children. Because in today’s increasingly uncivilised world, having to make such decisions may just be a matter of time.

Georgette Lockwood’s Medea is unceasing and mesmerising, a most welcome talent to The Classic and San Antonio. Lockwood is complimented by her chorus—Sophia Bolles, Cristina Vasquez, Magda Porter, and Meredith Bell Alvarez—led by Mindy Fuller as Nurse, whose reverberating decries shook the audience to the core in true Greek fashion. Lockwood gloriously dominated her male counterparts in Michael Duggan as King Creon, Kerry Valderrama as Jason, and Guy Schaafs as Aegeus as each attempted to hold their own power over her, yet exited in grace and fear. Beck Broyles’ Attendant matched her meek king while Jack Dulling and Logan Trevino as Mermeros and Pheres offered tangible sacrifices.

The Classic’s production of Medea drips with intensity and echoes with contemporary nuance. Georgette Lockwood reinvents Medea in this pertinent, absorbing adaptation that redefines and reintroduces Greek tragedy.

Medea will run at The Classic Theatre through November 29, 2015 with performances at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

1 comment:

  1. What an elegant and accurate review. I loved this production of Medea. Congratulations, Classic Theatre, once again!!