The original celebrity? Medea: this week on The Green Room

Jan 21, 2016

Parallel 45 Theatre company is out with a fresh take on the ancient Greek tragedy Medea.
Throughout their advertising campaign, the company has been comparing what it meant to be a celebrity during Medea's day, versus what it means today, with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsey Lohan.
Is it determined by the history books, or trends on Twitter?

Now, just in case you don’t know your Greek mythology, the basic storyline is that Medea ends up marrying Jason after she helps him win the Golden Fleece. Upon returning from his adventure, however, Jason leaves Medea to marry a princess. In the end, Medea exacts revenge upon Jason by killing two of her own children (which she had with Jason) and the princess.

Playwright Krista Corcoran Williams says the updated version still maintains the essence that Euripides wanted to get across in the play but is more streamlined. 

“It’s a lot crisper, and faster, and kind of sexier and more modern,” explains Williams.

While maintaining it’s popularity today, Medea wasn’t received very well when it was first produced in 431 B.C. The play actually finished in third place at the Dionysian festival where it premiered. 

“Aristotle never had that much respect for Euripides because his heroes were not good, as Aristotle thought heroes should be,” says Williams. “They were really complicated and really ambiguous.”

Williams believes it’s that complexity and ambiguity that makes the play resonate with modern audiences.

Actor Caitlin McDonough-Thayer playing the role of Medea in Parallel 45 Theatre's production.
Credit Parallel 45 Theatre

Caitlin McDonough-Thayer is the actor who portrays Medea in the production. She says playing the role is exhausting, and has taken a toll on normal life.

“It seeps into your consciousness,” says McDonough-Thayer. “Sleeping patterns, dream patterns, you know it’s strange— but I’m strangely enjoying it.”

Medea runs this weekend at the InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City. Tickets can be purchased here.