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31Oct

Medea - Bullis School - Potomac, Maryland - October 28, 2017

Neha Sinha

The Madeira School

 

A lost love, an unquenchable thirst for vengeance, and a bloodstained tunic whirl together and transport you to the tragic world of Ancient Greece in The Bullis School's Medea. 

This classic Greek play written by Euripides in 430 BC is set in the city of Corinth. It was first performed at the City Dionysia festival in Greece, and today it is considered one of the most monumental plays in history. This show follows the story of Medea who is demolished emotionally after her husband, Jason, abandons her and her two sons. She had previously assisted him with his heroic voyages specifically the one to find the Golden Fleece. Jason leaves her to marry Glauce, daughter of the king of Corinth, in hopes of a higher social standing. This leads to a downward spiral for Medea as she sets out on her vengeful path, eventually taking the lives of her sons. 

The complexity of the plot and characters in this script is difficult to carry out, but was done so very successfully by this cast. Tamia Haskins's performance as Medea was enthralling and captured both her dark, anger-driven side as well and her somber, sorrowful side exquisitely. Opposing her as the heroic soldier, William Evans (Jason) did a fantastic job showcasing the growth of his character through the show. His change from strong and hopeful to enraged and dismal highlights the tragic turn of events.

An impressive aspect of this show was the amount of teamwork in the separate "ensemble" groups. The Soldiers (Mingyang He, Justin Kelly) existed as one with such elegance and gave Jason increased strength and support. The Women of Corinth (Siena McKnight, Danielle Clayton, Maddie Mancusco) worked together brilliantly to create an ensemble that helped carry the show. Their synchronization and communication with each other throughout the play added another dimension to the events that occurred. The Women and The Nurse (Sydney Smith) also jointly supported Medea while successfully conveying their own complex characters. The way all came together at the end to deliver the final words to the audience was especially moving and powerful.

The technical aspects beautifully tied this play together. The set was not changed throughout the show, but consisted of one piece that was massive and very well constructed. The snakes were incredibly impressive and eye-catching. Lighting design in this show was brilliant and well timed. The lighting design enhanced the mood of the scenes and helped the audience know what to focus on. The costumes assisted in establishing the setting and period and gave a little bit of insight into the personality of the characters�even before they spoke.

Through the exquisite characters and magnificent storytelling, The Bullis School wove together a performance more stunning and complex than the Golden Fleece itself.


Ward LeHardy

Washington-Lee High School

 

Is it ever wise to put revenge over love, or intervene when evil looms? Bullis school's innovative production of Medea asks the audience to critique and ultimately fix the way we handle evil and wrongdoing within society.

Originally written by Ancient Greek playwright Euripides, Medea has stood as the paragon of Greek theater, and has been studied and analyzed for centuries. It tells the cruel tale of Medea, a lunatic mother who turns to vengeance after discovering the infidelities of her husband, Jason. Bullis school explores the nature of good vs. evil and the price of revenge in this gripping production.

Tamia Haskins in the titular role commanded the stage. Haskins had a way of portraying emotion well beyond her high school years, and her character choices as Medea accentuated her descent into vengeance and madness as Jason's infidelity weighed on her mind. Haskins took her own unique approach to the eponymous character, harnessed the melancholy nature behind Medea's actions, and used that as motivation for her revenge. There were, at one point, genuine tears streaming down the actress's face, giving authenticity to her weighty monologues. Haskins gave a powerful performance that won't soon be forgotten.

An ensemble, comprised of the three women of Corinth, was also moving. Typically, classic Greek theater is comprised of a chorus that generally narrates the action taking place before the audience. The three women of Corinth, as played by Siena McKnight, Danielle Clayton, and Maddie Mancusco, took up this role and then some in three distinct and sensational performances. Virtually onstage the entire span of the play, this ensemble kept face and stayed in character throughout, making sure to always react at whatever Medea was plotting next. 

The technical aspects of the production were magnificent, exceeding the expected level of a typical high school play. The set, beautifully designed and constructed by a team of Bullis students, consisted of a crumbling fa�ade of Medea's house, complete with two swinging doors guarded by two beautifully crafted serpents that snaked their way up columns. The decaying designs were inspired by Medea and Jason's disintegrating marriage, evident in the off-color walls and cracks within the exterior. Also stunning were the costumes, designed by performers Tamia Haskins and Siena McKnight. Showing off a well-researched portrayal of Ancient Greek attire, the costumes were carefully hand-crafted and gracefully flowed with the characters as they travelled across the stage. 

Bullis School's striking production of Medea left a powerful impression on the audience, and asked us what we should do next. The performance begged us to act, to stop evil in its tracks before it could erupt in carnage. One can only hope that unlike the characters that surround Medea, we may recognize evil in its infancy and stop it before it tears the world apart. Bullis portrayed these powerful themes in a truly emotional and spectacular production.

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