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Redrum at Fort Fringe
Thursday, July 15, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 22, at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25, at 1 p.m.
They Say: “Euripides’ tragic tale of a woman scorned, as she discovers the necessity of revenge, and its price.”
Trey’s Take: There’s an inevitable emotional punch in the image of an exquisite creature in extremis — so wrap the lovely Melissa Fenton in a gown of snowy feathers and double her over in a paroxysm of agony and rage, and you’ve got a swan in torment. And you’ve got a Medea that’s off to a hell of a start.
(Not gonna recap what Medea‘s about. That’s what the Internet is for.)
Director-designer Michael Burke, of the Indianapolis-based paperStrangers Performance Group, has a fashionista’s eye and a filmmaker’s instinct for economy. His adaptation — sure, it’s Euripides at the core, but it blends J. Michael Walton’s supple translation with elements from Heiner Muller’s postmodern multimedia reboot MedeaMaterial — has played to hosannas at Fringes here and there, and with good cause: It’s a dazzling portrait of a roaringly angry outsider who’s not going to go along to get along.
Fenton’s wrathful sorceress is magnificent, magnetic; Kellen York’s Jason, that retired Argonaut and relentless social climber, comes off as canny and feckless by turns. And that fright-wigged, bustiered-and-gartered chorus, with the unsettling smiles and the eyes alternately hungry and hideously blank? It’s stepped out of some Tim Burton movie to stalk the two principals, standing in for the audience and occasionally suggesting that the public’s endless appetite for celebrity tragedies is part of what keeps bringing them about.
Downplayed here: the usual suggestion that Medea’s shattering choice about those kids has partly to do with the certainty that others will kill them if she leaves them with dad. Punched up: the sense that this woman, a power in her own right among the “barbarian” land of her birth, is an elemental at large among the supposedly civilized Greeks. And a mightily aggrieved one, at that.
See It If: You’ve always been frustrated that the grandest excesses of Greek tragedies traditionally happen offstage. (Because Burke puts ’em downstage center — vividly.)
Skip It If: You can’t keep your Furies and your Fates straight — or even a brisk hour devoted to infanticide is more than you want your Fringe to include.