Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
A powerful figure extends her golden wings and creates a striking image similar to that of a phoenix rising from the flames. Who could this powerful sorceress be other than Medea, granddaughter of Helios? Justice High School's performance of Medea highlighted the destruction that can ensue when--what once appeared to be love--turns into a burning rage.
Medea is a Greek tragedy originally written by Euripides. Justice High School performed an adapted version of the David Kovacs translation and submitted it as their Virginia High School League one act. The play is centered around Medea, a sorceress, whose husband, Jason, has left her for the daughter of King Creon. Upon hearing the news that her and her children are banished, Medea decides to take matters into her own rage-fueled hands. This tragedy was first produced back in 431 BC and is still being performed now in 2021. This is a story that has lasted through such a tremendous period of time and is an example of how art can take on a life of its own and grow and evolve with each and every translation and adaptation.
This production featured an abstract chorus that created a solid foundation for the overall tone of the performance with their musical mannerisms. The actors would often echo the lines of characters, intensifying them and creating an ominous effect with their sharp and steady rhythm. They beat paper towel rolls together and boldly chanted to mimic the sound of marching. They also rubbed beads together to create a rain-like sound that highlighted the desperation in their remorseful pleas. They even dropped the beads at the end of this sequence, causing a noise similar to that of a whip being cracked, emphasizing the crackling pain in their words.
Sofie Edwards' performance as the sorceress Medea was bold and spellbinding. She commanded the stage with full movements and strong projection. Her voice was heard clearly throughout the auditorium. Her gestures were often grand since she extended her arms to take up more space, emphasizing her power and confidence. Edwards was intentional when she decided to be more reserved with her movements, such as gluing her crossed arms to her torso when Medea was surrounded by the pleading chorus.
Kaila Bertha, Elijah Kassa, Grace Adams, Xander Tilock, and Diego Salazar Jara did a fantastic job at showing their duality as actors. They all played a chorus member and at least one other character and were able to smoothly switch between roles. Elijah Kassa portrayed Jason with depth, evoking a wide range of emotions from anger to pity, and as soon as that orange cloak was put on, he morphed back into one of the hollowed souls in the chorus.
Elizabeth Cheek's organization as stage manager, and one of only two student technicians working on this production, was well executed. The props for the chorus were neatly tucked away inside the set pieces and were incredibly easy to access, allowing the actors to take them out without a sound. Colleen Geer, the assistant director, helped with swift costume changes for almost all the actors, allowing them to be done quickly enough that it was not distracting.
Justice High School's thought-provoking performance of Medea serves as a cautionary tale as to what happens when emotions go to their extremes and when revenge becomes an obsession.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
What's the best remedy for a broken heart? Some say time heals all wounds, others say forgiveness and a tub of ice cream. Greek princess Medea's answer? Vengeance. Dive into the compelling Greek tragedy with Justice High School's production of Medea.
Originally staged in 431 BCE, Medea followed the eponymous character as she struggled with her emotional fallout after her husband Jason's infidelity. To take revenge, she vowed to attack Jason's loved ones: his new betrothed, the princess Glauce, and Medea's own two children, Argos and Thessalus.
As the show's leading lady, Sofie Edwards stepped into the role of Medea with a range of emotion that carried the energy of the show with it. From stony faced and broken in one scene to spitting with rage in the next, Edwards was able to vary her energy levels in such an unnerving way that the well-known story was still surprising. Elijah Kassa was also notable for his performance as Jason, and his heartbreaking reaction to Argos and Thessalus' deaths made the unfaithful Jason somewhat more likable. The chorus, composed of all the actors, save Edwards, provided an element of emphasis to the show, ratcheting up the intensity of scenes through synchronized movement, and the echoing of important lines. Overall, the small ensemble cast performed with clear diction, crucial for understanding the more archaic syntax of the show.
The show's technical elements were also well done, particularly the costumes by Elizabeth Cheek and Colleen Geer. In shows where some actors were cast in multiple roles, it can be confusing what character an actor was playing in a given scene, but the costumes in Medea, though simple, were distinctive and clearly highlighted the characters currently being portrayed. The costume changes were also done discreetly-- it did not detract from the scene when a chorus character left to change. In addition to the costumes, the sparse set of the show was well suited to the Greek play; it created space for the actors to utilize movement, and the center platform provided levels that made the scenes more visually interesting.
Betrayal, infidelity, pain, revenge. Justice High School's Medea might have been performed thousands of years after the original production, but it tackled the same, continually relevant themes with an intense and emotional lens.