Children of MedeaStudio Theatre – Stage 4

Remaining Performances:
Saturday, July 19 @ 5:00 pm
Sunday, July 20 @ 2:00 pm
Wednesday, July 23 @ 9:00 pm
Saturday, July 26 @ Noon

She says: “A story about immigration, alienation, language and meaning, different ways of killing and dying, donuts and ants. Four years after being abandoned by their mother, two Korean-American sisters struggle with growing up. One dreams of being Alice, but Wonderland ain’t no fairy tale. Medea could have told them that.”

Sheffy’s take:When Sue Jin Song is basking in fame and success as a world-famous playwright, I will proudly brag that I remember when CapFringe premiered her virgin play back in aught-eight. Song, a suburban DC-native actress returning from the stages and studios of NYC and LA, finds her voice and makes it sing in a drama about two sisters who have lost their mother and now struggle with their identities while coping with an overbearing, taciturn father. Actually, she finds multiple voices—the perspective of the younger sister who refuses to grow up and accept responsibility, the perspective of the older sister who had responsibility thrust upon her at age 13, as she was expected to be the mother as well as the immaculate daughter. By staging in the round, the effect of multiple perspectives is further magnified by the audience.

In a story pregnant with literary metaphors ranging from Greek drama to the motherless Peter Pan who refuses to grow up, Song builds on the pathos of Medea, a princess, but also an immigrant, forced to take fateful actions when abandoned by her lover. Although the press kit (press kit!?) requested that I not spoil the plot, it was Song’s lyrical narration and dynamic acting that captivated me. As the older sister struggles for balance in her life, we meet her alter-ego who must navigate wonderland when the walls of pressure and responsibility start collapsing in. Sure, everyone needs an alter-ego every now and then, but I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how escaping to a surreal world contributed to the play’s resolution. The blurry line between her reality and fantasy obfuscated some of the plot’s intricacies.

After sweltering in other cramped, uncomfortable Fringe venues, it’s refreshing to enjoy a dedicated theater space. However, access to an arsenal of colored lights and a light board is not license to make the show feel like a rock concert. With accents, tone, and mannerisms, Song is clearly talented enough to embody each character without the help of personalized light motifs.

See it if: You love your mother.

Skip it if: You’re a budding female playwright and dramatic solo performer but you can’t handle new competition in town.