Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Fringe - Day 4 - Part 3

Minneapolis Theater Garage

"Do they kill their children? Do they send their sons off to war?"

This isn't the Medea I was expecting, and I couldn't be happier with the surprise. For some reason, I completely missed the advance word on this one. I knew it had garnered a lot of attention and an award elsewhere on the Fringe circuit, but I was still expecting some kind of large cast, standard interpretation of Euripides. Having seen these ladies in SELLING BLOOD on Friday, I should have known better.

A two person reinterpretation of the story, and not just the expected "mother kills her children" story we know so well. It's the whole story of Jason and Medea's unfortunate love affair. Steeped in blood from the start but still full of hope, at least at the beginning. Circumstance and human frailty cause the whole thing to unravel and give Medea's actions their true context. This full story is the one that many writers, myself included, keep coming back to and struggling to wrangle into some kind of manageable text, trying to explain the unexplainable, and also trying at the same time to touch on the ways we all still, to this day, murder our children.

The Eyewitness Theatre Company has found an adaptation that manages this trick skillfully, and with a large and welcome dose of humor, which, rather than undercutting the tragedy, actually casts it in sharper relief. Joanne Haydock and Sophie Partington prove once again to be the only two people an audience needs to deliver the goods. Truly an amazing display of acting chops. Entertaining, hilarious, sad, and mesmerizing.

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