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Not Medea - Review by Jenna Kunselman

Not Medea, a play written by Allison Gregory, tells a story of an exhausted mother as she aims to mourn and overcome an unbelievably tragic accident while the rest of the world is seemingly against her. The show begins with an immediately broken fourth wall; a bold introduction to the main character whose struggles with motherhood have brought her to the theater for a hopeful night of escape from her sorrowful family life. She appears to have a sore spot for tonight’s show, Medea, and as we delve deeper into the narrative, it is easy to draw parallels between the problems faced by our weary mother and Medea.

As the story unfolds, she consistently reminds us that she is not like Medea, although we are encouraged develop an understanding for the unthinkable actions of both Medea and our interruptive mal mannered theater-goer. Both women experience displacement, infidelity, jealousy, anger, revenge, and misconception, along with the worries and fears that accompany the joys of being a parent. As we draw these parallels between her life and Medea’s, we are reminded that this fatigued mother’s story exudes an underlying innocence and misunderstanding shining through the cracks of the heavy burden weighing her down. We learn to sympathize with the actions and reactions of both women as she guides us deeper into the reasoning behind them.

Not Medea - OTW 2019 - Drew Leigh Williams - photo by Heather Mull

It is clear that this woman is at her wit’s end as she is being sucked dry by the endless repercussions of the tragedy that has struck her family to the core. The messages she is portraying seem rather tragic and dismal on the surface, but the interruptive dialogue that constantly breaks the fourth wall acts as an element of humor while encouraging interaction between her and the audience. The nature of this performance translates to a stronger sympathetic, thought provoking emotional connection as the story unravels its many layers.

Not Medea allows us to revisit a familiar tale in a modernized way, introducing new themes alongside the old ones. We endure conflicts with infidelity, misogyny, anger, vengeance, and imperfect parenting. We learn that not all parents admit to being imperfect, yet all parents are. We are challenged to open our hearts and our minds as we consider the ways we interpret, confront, and resolve some of the morally questionable thoughts and actions we may endure in life. Join us at Carnegie Stage for the final three performances of Not Medea on October 17th, 18th, and 19th for a truly thought-provoking experience that will submerge you in an emotional uproar and encourage you to explore the boundaries of your own moral compass.

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