Friday, Aug. 10, 2012

The Fools Take On 2400 year-old tragedy

Fools For tragedy bring MEDEA to the Villa Terrace

By Russ Bickerstaff
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After great adventure, the hero leaves his wife for the daughter of a king. I don't care what the extenuating circumstances were, it was an epically heartless move . . . a move immortalized in Euripides' Medea. The play gets a modern staging this month as Fools For Tragedy brings the story to life at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.


Judging from advanced word on the production, it has kind of a modern feel to it. Tirelessly talented actor and playwright Jordan Gwiazdowski has adapted what I understand is a condensed modernization of the Ian Johnston translation of Euripides' classic. The action moves within a few different locations within the rumblingly beautiful Villa Terrace Art Museum. The show begins at the front gates, then moves to the courtyard within before adjourning to the Grand Hall. 

 

The captivating Amber Smith plays the title character.  (That's her above on the right.) She agreed to help the hero Jason get the golden fleece in exchange for his hand in marriage. He ends up getting an offer from King Creon to marry her daughter instead. And he does so . . . leaving Medea pretty upset. Smith has the power to deliver a really sharp performance in the role of a powerful woman from the dawn of modern civilization. Jordan Gwiazdowski plays Jason. Michael Keiley plays Creon in a cast that also includes performances by Gwen Zupan and Liz Whitford and a chorus featuring Jennifer Gaul, Ellen Dunphy and Shannon Tyburski.

 

Taking place in a classy venue, this is a really classy production. These characters are largely royalty and aristocrats. They will be dressed-up. The audience is encouraged to dress-up for the as well. Fancy dress gives the murder and revenge a bit more of a sense of occasion. 

 

Fools For Tragedy's Medea runs August 12th - 22nd at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum on 1801 North Prospect Avenue. Tickets are $15. For ticket reservations, email: rsvp@cavtmuseums.org. The show runs an hour with no intermission. Doors open at 7pm for a 7:30 pm curtain. Due to the nature of the staging, there is no late admittance. 

 

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