May 21, 2013


Jan Zvaifler as "EM". Photo: Jim Norrena 


JAN ZVAIFLER (EM) IS A MODERN DAY MEDEA who will sacrifice everything to make her revenge perfect. She is a remarkable study of injustice and ruthlessness, based on myth,  tragedy, jealousy, love and hate.  Albeit, the play begins to wear thin. Oh, there is superb acting by the entire cast -- and projected visuals keep you on the edge of your seat. However, the play has uneven moments.

This new version of Medea (renamed Medea Hypothesis) is a startling new version of love gone awry. Of course no matter what the version is "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned!" Let me set the scene. At times the play is Barbaric, Raw and Brilliant. And it does drain you emotionally -- but the gruesome rawness begins to wear thin. But at times it is simply amazing. Medea (EM), as you know is fickle and power hungry. The range of emotions go from volcanic to tenderness. But the tortured interplay of love, desire and revenge, wears out with her crime of passion. 

This painfully expressive play does what it does best. And that would be in the acting department. All of the Actors are mesmerizing. But the languid weirdness begins to wear you out. The staging and the lighting is just perfect. But somehow -- I could not make a commitment to the script. It just did not connect in  good story telling. It did not keep me on the edge of my seat. 

The stage is pretty plain. There are some grand artsy moments - I was especially surprised by a huge, gorgeous silky blanket. Of course, Medea was not all that charmed. Nothing charms her. She is a nervous wreck -- but not enough to draw me into the play. However, this Medea...may be only fully appreciated by die hard Medea fans. But it is a concept that many who saw the play -- adored it! 

HERE ARE THE REMARKABLE STARS: Cory Censoprano (Ian) - Dakota Dry (Sweetie) - Joe Estlack ( Carl, Christopher, Dad, Restaurant Owner/Waiter - Jan Zvalifler (Ian) (modern day Medea) 

Written by Marian Berges and directed by Gary Graves. Now playing at the Berkeley City Club thru June 23. 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed  many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED) 

1 comment:

Landrew said...

It would appear that one would have to be in a certain frame of mind to handle this play. All in all though, it sounds intriguing. If I can handle "Come Back To The Five & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" or 'Night Mother" over a hundred times.... this a piece of cake! Thanks Lee.