|Sylvester Foday Kamara and Alexandra Tavares in Medea (John Ulman)|
Seattle Shakespeare Company
Through November 13, 2016
A taut, sleek and musicalized version of Medea is on tap by Seattle Shakespeare Company. The normally unmusical drama includes original compositions by Shenandoah Davis that are aptly provided and allow a Greek Chorus to actually sing! This aspect elevates this well done production even more.
Ritualistically directed by Kelly Kitchens, the play runs about an hour and forty minutes straight through as the Euripides’ story of Medea unfolds on a spare, modern bedroom suite set by Andrea Bryn Bush. The translation used, by Kenneth McLeish and Frederick Raphael, feels contemporary and because of that feeling, it both helps the audience understand the words well, yet hurts the understanding of an ancient story.
Certainly, the language feels immediate and accessible, and with contemporary costuming by Chelsea Cook, it feels like it could be a story that happens today. But part of what we need to understand about Medea is that she is a woman “of her time.” Euripides wrote more than two thousand years ago about a woman treated as worthless when her husband decides to throw her over for a princess and a crown.