Medea in FringeNext

This year’s FringeNext features at least one intensely beautiful show, Medea, directed by Butler University graduate Michael Burke. Burke’s adaptation of this famous Greek tragedy is stunning. His careful attention to the visuals he presents paired with his realistic treatment of the script with glimpses into the psyche of the famously crazy foreigner, Medea, make for an hour of complicated love, hate, regret, and revenge.

Burke originally mounted the show while enrolled in Butler University’s Theatre Department. He has reexamined his concept, and reproduced it for one night only Saturday at the Irving Theater. But don’t worry, as a participant of indyFringe Theater Festival’s FringeNext, you’ll have your chance to catch this challenging yet beautiful piece of theater.

Madea promotional video

Georgeanna Smith portrays Medea with an intensity and normalcy that is almost contradictory, but that strangely makes sense for the role. She strikes a perfect balance between a madwoman out for a revenge and a victimized girl who gave it all up for her husband only to be betrayed.

Nick Abeel plays her scornful ex-lover, Jason. While it is easy to hate Jason, Abeel makes him human. The arguments he makes in the script, though flawed, are well executed. He stands as a powerful equal to Smith’s Medea, making their sparring moments seem like a dance to the death between to titans.

The chorus is perhaps Burke’s most brilliant invention. A group of four played by Kienan Finley, Raphael Schwartzman, Stephanny Tauber, and Kendra Wilcox. Dressed all in white and in the theme of something you would see in a side show at a twisted circus, they comment on and move the story forward with creepy delicacy. They move around the whole space saying the most disgusting parts of text with a smile on their face. At times they seem to feed from Medea’s madness, as if her revenge is their only lifeblood.

Michael Burke is making a splash onto Indianapolis art and Indianapolis theater. His original costume, set and multimedia designs round out his direction beautifully. The makeup design by Katie Utterback and the lighting design by Raphael Schwartzman were equally integral to telling the story. All of the elements of this production come together beautifully to answer the driving questions of this production: “What is in her heart? Is she a sadistic monster, or a victim of her own flawed humanity?”

If you are in the market for an hour of theater with some of the most beautiful stage images I have seen in Indianapolis, consider checking out Medea in FringeNext. FringeNext is hosted in the newly renovated indyFringe Building on Mass Ave.

In a few short days, Indianapolis downtown will be a flurry of activity as Indianapolis performing arts groups prepare to take the stage. Do not miss this great Indianapolis festival.

indyFringe Theater Festival

August 20-31, 2009

IndyFringe Theatre Festival
The IndyFringe Building
719 E St. Clair St
Indianapolis, IN46202