Monday, August 09, 2004

Hell of a weekend. In a good way.

Thursday, as I mentioned, I saw the first public performance of 'Medea in Jerusalem'. Overall, I enjoyed the production. The set and lighting were well done; frankly, they were better than I expected from a theater of this size. There were very interesting theatrical touches including a radio voiceover with news stories that didn't have anything to do with the play, but set the stage, as it were, for the Jewish/Muslim tensions.

The idea of setting Medea in Jerusalem and making Medea a Muslim worked rather well. Clearly, it makes perfect sense to use the Israeli/Palestinian tension to create a frame of reference that a modern audience might understand. The same could be done by playing with race or class.

My only problem with this production (and this is a bit of a spoiler) is that in this version, Medea's daughter is complicit in the killing of Jason's new wife. In the original, if memory serves, Medea sends her children to Jason's wedding bearing a robe coated with poison. The children present the gift to the new wife, not knowing that it will kill her. When the children return, Medea kills them, leaving Jason bereft of family.

In this version, Medea sends her son to Jason's wedding bearing a bomb in his backpack. She tells the boy that it is a gift for the bride. Her daughter takes the backpack from the boy at the wedding and sends him away, offering herself as a 'martyr' and saving the boy. The boy returns home where he is killed by Medea.

I'm not sure I liked this. Part of the horror of the original story was that Medea's hatred of her treatment at the hands of Jason led her to sacrifice her children, whom she loved, in order to hurt him. They were innocent in all of this. In this new production, the daughter wasn't. Again, I'm not exactly sure what I think of this.

Overall, the acting was good, though there were some scenery-chewing moments. The actress playing Medea (whose name I will look up when I get home and can look at the program) was very good at showing Medea's happiness, growing frustration, anger and eventual madness. The actor playing Jason seemed a little wooden, but I assume this had more to do with Jason's character than with the actor. I would have liked to see a little more emotional range.

All in all, this was well worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see a new take on a classic. For more info on the show go to the Rattlestick Theatre Company's website.

So moving on. Friday night was Nicole's going-away party at Oscar Wilde. It started with a couple of drinks at the Townhouse with Michael Vernon. Fun times were had. Cocktails were drunk. Partygoers were drunk. Pants were dropped. Photos were taken. And posted. Twinkie waiters were engaged in dicussions of theater. Phone numbers were exchanged. All in all, one of the best nights out I've had in a long time. Sorry Nicole is leaving, but it's nice to know I have someone to drink with when I visit Nashville.

Saturday was all about rugby. I was meant to attend the youth rugby day that my team was holding concurrent with our rugby bootcamp. Oddly enough, heavy drinking the night before combined with my inability to remember to set my alarm thwarted that particular endeavor.

Ah, well.

I did show up for the Third Half party and got to meet several of the new recruits. We had 45 people attend bootcamp, our largest so far. It was due in no small part to the excellent work done by our new recruiting chair, but I imagine that the recent spread in Out magazine and The Village Voice didn't hurt either.

Sunday was the Lord's day (to quote an old rugby song). Or rather, it was to be my date with Buddha, as I was planning to attend the meditation class at the local Shambhala. Best laid plans of mice and men . . . Instead, I slept late and watched cooking shows all day. That evening I hooked up with English David and saw 'A Home at the End of the World' which was amazing. Not exactly a feel-good movie, but an excellent one.

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