Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

The department of theater and dance presented “Medea”

Desi LaPoole
A&E Editor

On Oct. 26-28 and Nov. 1-3, The College of Wooster’s department of theater and dance presented Euripides’ Greek tragedy, “Medea.” Directed by Professor Shirley Huston-Findley, “Medea” follows the story of a woman on a quest to seek revenge against the man she gave everything up for.

The majority of “Medea’s” cast were first years. The leading roles of Medea and Jason were played by Elena Morey ’21 and Dante King ’21, respectively. Also cast were Louis Schwartz ’21 as Aigeus, Max Gregg ’21 as Kreon’s attendant, Emma Russell ’21 as a chorus member, Angela Danso Gyane ’21 as a chorus member, Hayden Lane-Davies ’21 as the messenger, Gerald Dryden ’21 as the tutor and Stephanie Pokras ’21 as the nurse. George Marn ’18 played Kreon, and Dena Nashawati ’20 portrayed a chorus member.

For such a young cast, Huston-Findley believed that the actors did very well. “They stepped up to the occasion,” she said. “This is a challenging play for anyone. ‘Medea’ has more words than action, and many audiences are used to visuals in a play.” The cast was able to convey the story in a way that revealed the layers underneath the surface of the tale while continuing to be engaging for audiences.

The play begins after Medea has given up most of her life to be Jason’s wife. Medea was once a princess in her land. After Medea helped Jason in his quest for the golden fleece, she eloped with him to Greece and bore him two sons, no longer in the position of royalty she once occupied. When Jason betrays Medea and marries the king’s daughter in an attempt to inherit the throne, Medea begins her plot of revenge in this male-dominated world.

“Medea” deals with issues of misogyny and xenophobia and raised questions for Huston-Findley such as, “How do we deal with the misogyny of the play, the hatred of foreigners and cultural differences based on time and geography?” This play provided a challenge not only for director Huston-Findley, but also for students and audiences alike.

“I chose this play because it provided a challenge,” Huston-Findley stated. “We were given an opportunity to explore the text as it relates in a contemporary role.”

As “Medea” is a play Huston-Findley has wanted to direct since she started teaching the classic, part of the decision to stage it was due to the ways in which 21st century audiences could relate to some of the topics in today’s political climate.

To further develop connections from the ancient text to contemporary times, each night the performances had an accompanying pre-performance discussion hosted by Huston-Findley’s students in her “Origins of Drama” course. As part of their final assignment and as a way to help the students apply what they learned in class, each student hosted their own discussion and brought up a new topic of interest for participants to enjoy. Discussion topics included “Key Elements of Greek Culture,” hosted by Becca Snedeker-Meier ’17, “The Bonds of Marriage in Medea,” hosted by Daniel Myers ’19 and “The Dynamics Between Audience and Space,” hosted by Hayden Lane-Davies ’21. Huston-Findley believes that incorporating the lecture series as part of the “Medea” experience was “a good way to connect the history of the play and apply it to [the play] we create.”

Presenting “Medea” to the College community was a way to expose the community to ancient Greek texts, and the accompanying lecture series allowed for students and audiences alike to connect this tragedy to a 21st century context. If given the opportunity, Huston-Findley stated that this is something she would like to continue in the future.

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