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LETTERS TO EDITOR
by Les Gutman
On the one hand, we have the putative source material, Euripedes' Medea. Yet Rno has done little with it beyond borrowing the names of his central characters, Jason (Ron Domingo) and M (Michi Barall), and cherry-picking some plot elements (M kills her brother and later her son (both portrayed by Aaron Yoo), Jason betrays her for another woman, here named Marilyn II (Deborah S. Craig) so it is clear she is to represent what the script calls a "genetically reengineered" Marilyn Monroe).
On the other hand, we have the Korean-American experience which, if we are to believe Mr. Rno, consists of little more than having Asian actors portraying a family immersed in a sea of (dated and hackneyed) American pop culture. The "chorus" consists of segments of an idiotic television show hosted by Chinky (Ms. Craig) and Gooky (Paul H. Juhn), send-ups (I suppose) of bad Asian stereotypes fitfully trying to span the East-West divide. And yes Rno should be embarrassed.
The play becomes even more confounding when it strays into the wave/particle gibberish, and when Rno decides to take a stab at writing verse. (He does so only fleetingly.) I would be astonished if Chay Yew is happy to have his name invoked as the inspiration for this play.
One can find little to fault in Will Pomerantz's direction of this piece, beyond the rather questionable decision to undertake it. It is cleanly and inventively staged, and the production elements (simple and straightforward, against a beautifully playful backdrop that separates to reveal an additional playing area beyond, with a full-length wave pool stage left) are excellent. The performances are also quite fine, with the two women (Michi Barall and Deborah Craig) as particular standouts.
But "the play's the thing". And this one is not.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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