MEDEA comes to Broadway, having just done Chicago
From Ireland's Abbey Theater,with rage;
& the Brooklyn Academy of Music;directed
by Deborah Warner; starring Fiona Shaw & Jonathan Cake.
The following review of MEDEA originates from the BAM production:
Fiona Shaw is a wonderfully effective actor,with an
energy and intelligence that work up strong wonders
in the Brooklyn Academy of Music's presentation of this
version of the Greek tragedy, going on now through
12 October. As directed by Debra Warner, the production
moves at a brisk pace, heightened almost exponentially
by the expectation of impending doom, - though rather
than the doom itself, - i.e., from Medea's perspective, the
demise of a once loving marriage & family life
and its subsequently ferocious consequences.
What does hot, dissolute, passionate infidelity
do to a marriage, after all ? There is little point in
making comparisons & contrasts to other matters
of life, as repercussions are so various. Why the
"tabloiding" of moral scandal and psychological
disgrace when the ordeal is so personal to even
just one deeply vunerable, noticeably unstable
person (Medea gone over the edge)? This is a
question that this production seems to be suggesting.
The other question which may be asked is, - does
such curiosity naturally advance the overall mythic
quality of the tragedy ?
These and other relevant ponderings are worth noting.
Beyond that, it is important to consider that
Ms. Warner's staging is extremely fresh, if imperfect.
The matter of this production's brevity hints at a lack
of far greater exploration of relationships:Medea &
Jason, Medea & the kids, Medea & the nurse, etc. (That
is a matter of debate, perhaps). What is very captured
here for benefit of the contemporary audience is more
theatricality than pathos, more expensive production
(large budget) than story-telling simplicity.
There are moments, to be sure, when the horrors of
blood revenge come to life and sizzle; ultimately, this
MEDEA succeeds in becoming a shared moment for
all of us mortals - and concludes in a certain way by
having us piece out its imperfections with our very
own collective unconsciousness, sending us all off
afterwards to the safety of our own typically mundane