The Euripides Revival: Beauty Betrayed

Theatre of the People wraps up its first year in grand style with two productions that have so many strengths that I wish I had far more space than I have. They began their season of twofers with stories of “daring deeds” from Ibsen moved to “ladies of lust” with Oscar Wilder and August Strindberg and now its “Beauty Betrayed” with Medea and The Trojan Women by Euripides.

Each of their earlier efforts had mixtures of verve, thoughtful intelligence and skills, but with “beauty betrayed” they’ve moved to a new level. Their post modern approaches take them and the audience deeply into the premodern power of Euripides.

Cofounder David Nosko directs his cofounder Hannah Moss as Medea in a strong production. Moss is by turns aristocratic, distant, alluring, and frightening and, yes, tragic. At the high point of the dreadful action, I found myself thinking about the definition of tragedy…the catharsis of pity and terror…and saying, hey, this is it!

There are plenty of high points and touches in Medea. As Jason, the man who Medea accuses of betrayal, Jared Miller made a very sympathetic figure. I enjoyed he loopy but wise characterization of the Nurse by Suzie Zimmerman and the gracefully way that she choreographed the group movement. The chorus performs as a quartet and individually. Each had a special quality. Alexandra Lucas was a straight charmer in pink and Jennifer Smith in blue actually sang her lines in a slightly bluesy tinged style.

The Trojan Women co directed by Sabrina Lloyd and Sean Cole was presented on a smaller scale with half as many actors, but no less focus and a heart rending climax. As the women led by Sam Gurnick as Hecuba sat lamenting on the ground outside the ruined walls, Shanta Parasuraman as Helen sat exiled by the bitter group playing guitar accompaniment. Their story is a tale of women as spoils of war. They sit and talk as they are parceled out to the victors by the sympathetic soldier Talthybius played by Meggie Bontrager.

Mary Latefa Malooley was the Cassandra who knows all but is listened to by none. Hannah Kennedy played a character called “the nameless woman.” It was she who addressed the audience and talked about how good Troy had been and what a great place. In many of the play’s speeches the directors have the actors speak in almost disjointed staccato. It lent additional power to Kennedy that she spoke directly to the audience in a more familiar manner

Farrell Paules was Hector’s wife, a woman who as she laments the death of her husband must have their legacy, their child, snatched away and put to death. Again I was reminded of “pity and terror,” but here it was mostly tears.

Theatre of the People’s productions of “Medea” and “The Trojan Women” have final performances Thursday and Friday at eight and Saturday at two and eight in the Rose Firebay of the John Waldron Arts Center.

Listen to WFIU’s George Walker’s interview with co founders David Nosko and Hannah Moss and director Sabrina Lloyd.

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Theatre & Dance Stories

Theatre & Dance Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

Our Photos on Flickr