At the heart of every tragedy, you’ll find a woman.
And though that bears a misogynistic truth in an otherwise patriarchal construct, it is no more apparent both in a literal and figurative sense than in McMaster Thespian Company’s production of Euripides’ Medea. As a tale lacking in a sense of right and wrong, the tragedy focuses on Medea and Jason, two heroic Greek figures who marry, fall out, and believe that their misguided passions for each other is a surefire sign of the deepest form of love. That is to say, Medea kills her own sons and Jason’s would-be bride.
While the plot seems borderline impossible, MTC’s production of Medea highlights the fervent and blossoming independence of women by reworking it into the burgeoning background of feminism in the 1950s. Chris Vergara, an experienced veteran of the MTC cast, wonderfully casts the shadow of an era that was inherently countercultural by both establishing and subsequently deconstructing an otherwise repressive phallocentric society. The lines dividing an antiquated Greek culture blur with the sound of television’s crackling and records playing in attempt to acknowledge the faults in the world we live in.
Though the archaic syntax and occasional flubbing of lines added to the difficulty in deciphering - let alone understanding - the dialogue, the overall message was unmistakably clear: hate breeds from love and love from hate.
In the end, the play was more than some overarching statement of feminism. It was more than a portrayal of empowerment. It was about humanism, and the way each of us, man or woman alike, lose their humanity when we are treated like anything but.
Graziella Mastrangelo was flawless as Medea, convincingly transforming into both a killer lady and a lady killer. When Jason, acted by Dan Megaffin, tore across the stage in a fit of unparalleled grief, shaking with each step, the audience shook with him. And as the Nurse, acted by Jessica Teicher, cried to the gods in a futile hope of restrain, one could not help but wonder if she wasn’t acting. For a fleeting second sitting there in your seat, you were sure that the Nurse was warning of a murder going to happen on stage. In front of your eyes. In a few moments. Now. Then. Forever.
Though the 2300-year leap may come at a price with choppy archaic dialogue, it was an incredibly rich play which was only bolstered by avant-garde approach. As Malcolm Carnie, an Arts and Science student resoundingly expressed, “Their interpretation of Medea was just fantastic.”
By: Kacper Niburski