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|A CurtainUp Review
Medea In Jerusalem
By Jenny Sandman
Intercut with radio news briefs about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Medea in Jerusalem wants to be a stark and sobering portrayal of the ancient conflict as seen through the lens of another ancient story. It's an admirable goal, but this particular incarnation doesn't work.
Roger Kirby's play is not so much stark and sobering as it is simply stiff. The conflict is only referenced in passing. The tension between the actors is missing With the actors rarely touching and delivering their speeches facing front and with little movement, there's little evidence of the tension between them . It's true that the Greeks were nothing if not formulaic, but director Steven Little's direction emulates this style at the expence of pace -- which is considerably slower than it should be.
Things do loosen up, especially in the confrontations between Medea and Jason. The sharp-featured Rebecca Wisocky's convey's Medea's rage and the chemistry between her and Sean Haberle's Jason finally spark. Haberle would be sexy if he didn't project a constant air of annoyance. Still he and Wisocky have strenths that balance out the rest of the cast's overactinge.
This is not the first attempt to modernize this ancient myth. It sounded promising enough and the slow pace, overly earnest cast and the bland, monochromatic set and costumes, have not completely oblitereated Medea in Jerusalem's potential. While the production style and concept are terminally laborious, Wisocky and Haberle make a good team, and it's worth the ticket price and your time to see them in action.
Editor's Note: Readers might want to check out another modernized Medea that was imported to BAM from Great Britain, and moved on to Broadway -- The Review.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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