Theatre students modernize Greek classic ‘Medea’

Lifestyle Reporter

Texas State’s Department of Theatre and Dance performed “Medea,” a modernized version of Euripedes’ Greek tragedy, in the black box theatre March 5-7.

The play, directed by Amelia Bahr, graduate student, follows Medea’s vendetta against Jason, her ex-husband. 

Bahr has over 30 years of theatre experience, but she had never directed a Greek play.

“I used to not be a big fan of Greek plays, but tonight that has completely changed,” said Terrence Folker, audience member. “It was modernized enough to where I wasn’t falling asleep in my seat, but it also had the genuine Greek elements as well.”

Bahr read over 15 different renditions of “Medea” during the summer until she settled on the Frederic Raphael and Kenneth McCuish rendition.

“I was looking for one that still had the beauty of the image but wasn't quite as difficult for my audience to understand and for my cast to tackle because I knew I was going to be doing a modern rendition of it,” Bahr said.

The chorus was one of the Greek elements incorporated into the modern rendition of “Medea.” Bahr said in the ancient Greek plays the chorus not only sang and danced but also spoke.

“It has a lot of music and some dancing that has been added back to the script, so we played around with that a lot,” Bahr said. “We did a lot of playing with the chorus work and had a lot of fun."

Folker said the cast of “Medea” captured the emotions of the characters and portrayed them powerfully to the audience.

“The cast was amazing,” Folker said. “There was not a single moment where I was not memorized, especially at the very end when Jason starts to have his meltdown. That was so strong.”

Grayson Yockey, musical theater sophomore, played the role of Jason. Yockey described how he related to the naivety of his character.

“He’s a lovable fool in that sense, and I’d like to think I’m a little smarter than he is, but he’s very kind and just looking out for the good of the people,” Yockey said.

The show was performed in the black box theatre, a small show hall with a flat stage surrounded by the audience on all sides except for the back. This fostered an intimate conection between the audience and performers.

“I was sitting in the front row, and let me tell you, it was intense,” said Anna Joel, musical theatre junior. “There were a couple of times where I almost felt myself getting just as mad as Medea was, to be honest, because I could just feel her pain so bad.”

The small space meant the set was kept minimal. However, that did not limit the creativity of the actors and director, who brought the elements of ancient Greece alive.

“I loved the set,” Folker said. “It wasn’t what I was expecting, and the background music that was chosen to be played went really well too.”

Bahr said she hopes her audience will leave with a greater understanding of how to treat people and will consider the actions of the ancient Greeks when they deal with others. 

“One of the things that makes ‘Medea’ so interesting is not that she and Jason are in a toxic relationship but the fact that he treats her so poorly because she’s a foreigner,” Bahr said. “(Ancient Greeks) don’t consider the fact that other people are human beings. I hope the audience fears becoming like them because of the way they treat other people.”