Remember in high school when you were forced to study Greek tragedies? Remember how tedious and ridiculous it was? How about “Medea,” the story of a woman who felt so betrayed when her husband left her for a younger woman that she killed her own children?
These stories aren’t known for being believable, but come to life in Logan Square’s Theatre Y (@Theatre_Y, 2649 N. Francisco Ave.) production of “Medea.” Melissa Lorraine as Medea makes us all feel the betrayal, and that we might do the same given the circumstances. Carlo Lorenzo Garcia’s Jason makes us all feel like he deserves all the punishment Medea metes out.
Theatre Y’s Unique Production
Director Kevin V. Smith used poet Robinson Jeffers adaptation of the Euripides play as source material, and then added some fun, absurdist touches that I will not spoil because they are best to discover on your own.
After every performance director and cast hold a question and answer session. I was privileged to attend the May 7 opening night performance and the session afterwards. One piece of information shared at the session was that much of the chorus’ performance was improvised.
Smith’s impetus for making the play was the chorus.
“The idea came even before I had read the text. The idea came from an impulse in me to get a group of young actresses together to have a conversation, which came from the previous work I’d done with Melissa [Lorraine] at Concordia University on Lysistrata,” says Smith.
His desire to work collaboratively with a group means the chorus in his “Medea” is a major feature, not simply a device for moving the plot along. They are both the first and last performers we see on stage.
The stage itself is a feature of the play. With cathedral ceilings overhead, and backed by moody peeling paint, the stage is deep enough to allow several areas of simultaneous action without crowding. For the entire first act there are essentially two plays on a single stage.
Take A Trip To The Theater
Again, without giving away any of the quite interesting touches, this production is best viewed with an open mind and expectation of an original experience. This Greek tragedy is not a complete downer despite the seriousness of the story.
Performances are Thursdays through Sundays at 7 pm (with the exception of May 15) until June 1. Tickets are $10 to $20 and can be purchased by phone or at Theatre Y’s website.
Note: I received press passes to prepare for this story.