This year’s Classics in the Quad found a suitably tragic tale in ‘Medea’.
Directed by Jessica MacIsaac, the story of Medea centers around the brutal end of the titular character’s marriage with the classical hero Jason, her killing of both his new wife and their two children. MacIsaac’s production was haunting and engaging to watch.
Despite the cold temperature outdoors, the entire cast carried on bravely and delivered a powerful performance all the way to the bitter end. It was obvious from the beginning that MacIsaac’s vision was headed into full-tilt drama, an artistic choice that worked well given the nature of its content. There’s just no holding back with Greek tragedies. Medea’s plot hung over the events of the play, and the choice to set the stage just before sunset paid off as the growing bleakness of the plot was echoed by the gradual turn towards night.
For stellar performances, one must look no further than the titular Medea herself, played by Adriana Loewen. Loewen delivered a very raw Medea, one who from the onset of the action had been wrought by shame at her husband Jason’s infidelities. We saw her revenge plot against Jason and the nobility of Corinth played out from its inception all the way through to the bitter end, and Loewen played off her duplicity well to the audience. Several times, one could almost see the wheels turning in her head, as her facial expressions showed off an unspoken inner monologue before she puts on her performances. It makes her much more enjoyable to watch, and although her turn towards filicide eventually loses her the sympathy of the audience, we can still feel for her dire situation: abandoned and without any family or allies, on the brink of exile.
Loewen was met by a very excellent supporting cast. Thomas Jestin managed to bring a sense of heroic gravitas to Jason; despite his rampant misogyny and lack of respect for Medea’s circumstances, it was obvious that Jestin’s portrayal showcased a man who genuinely thought he was doing the right thing to the end.
Colin Miniou’s Creon further highlighted the patriarchal nobility of Corinth, in a brief but memorable scene. But Loewen seemed to work best alongside the Chorus: a collection of Corinthian citizens comprising of Avery Macdonald, Julia Rutgers, Hilary Allister, Alison Beckwith, Julia Hancock-Song, and Georgia Findlay. While the choreography was somewhat repetitive, the Chorus remained remarkably in-sync throughout, and their energy always brought a sense of life to the play’s proceedings.
As an precedent to the KTS’ 2015 season, ‘Medea’ was possessed of a dark, electrifying mood, one that was epitomized by Medea and Jason’s climactic showdown on the steps after sunset. Its dynamic cast and good production choices fashioned quite the strong show. The rest of the season certainly has its work cut out for them.