Theatre Machine (at Stone Soup's Upstage Theatre)
May 7 - 23, 2009
Hyacinths are in blossom, there are people tanning on the grass at Gasworks Park and bicycles abound. Mothers day is this Sunday, May 10, 2009. What better time for Euripides' classic tale of a woman scorned and her venomous wrath which kills or destroys all those in her path of vengeance with a little filicide to boot? I can see none and nor can Theatre Machine!
Bringing to the stage Michael Collier and Georgia Machemer's translation of Euripides' epic piece of the outcast Medea, Theatre Machine comes to the Seattle Stage for its newest show. Last year their inaugural show, Sweet, The Breath of Children by Neil Ferron, was a hit at Odd Duck Studios. Now this year, performing at Stone Soup's Upstage Theatre (two doors away from Stone Soup Theatre), the crew brings to simple and potent life Medea's last day in Corinth.
While this story has been told countless times, been adapted even more frequently and taught in nearly every literature or theatre-arts classroom, seeing it brought to the stage in Stone Soup's 47-seat theater is definitely something else. Kristyn Bitner (Medea) is absolutely terrifying. Her performance is impressive not only from the standpoint of her comparative line-load in the one-and-one-quarter-hour show, but also from the standpoint of her sheer passion. Sharing the stage with her are a close-knit cast creating a wonderful ensemble piece.
The script itself is not the cleanest translation of Medea and is, in fact, often confused whether it is inspired by the classical lyricism or has the language of a modern sitcom. Similarly the all-black attire was vague as to whether it was serious and modern (the men in ties, for example) or an attempted motif of a stylized throwback (one bodice and some bewildering flowing garments).
However, with 47-seats, a one-year-old theatre company and only two weeks left of performances, for sheer fast-paced classical tragedy, Medea with Theatre Machine is the ticket in town.
Review by Andrew J. Perez