Review: Not Medea

The woman within

“Will it be myth or magic?”

“Will it be myth or magic?”

Photo courtesy of Rudy Meyers

Not Medea; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; $26-$38. B Street Theatre B3 Stage, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; Through June 11.
Rated 4.0

“Please hug your children when you get home,” asks playwright Allison Gregory in Not Medea. The play, which tells the story of a woman and the intersection of myth and magic, recently opened at B Street Theatre and it’s both captivating and grimly funny.

Directed by Gretchen Corbett, this is a tour de force for actress Lori Prince in this not quite, but almost one-woman show. Prince adroitly slips back and forth between the role of the modern day Woman and the character of Medea, all the while revealing why she feels sympathetic toward the ancient enchantress.

Woman has arrived at the theater in need of a break from mothering; here, she first interacts with the audience, and then, as she walks onto the stage, looking for a seat, she notices the Medea set and confesses that though the play does not end well, she can understand the choices Medea makes.

“Poor Medea wanted to end her personal pain. Yeah, don’t we all? So what? She was a monster.”

Here, Gregory has crafted an interesting plot device in which a woman straddles the modern and the ancient world, fully believable in each.

Throughout the play, Woman hints at her deep, dark secret and in the telling of the Medea story reveals more and more of her secret until at last, she confesses everything and is doubled over with the pain of her grief.

Deonna Bouye is the one-woman Greek chorus, while Ross Hellwig—tall, strong, and handsome—is Jason, for whom both Medea and Woman fall until his real nature is revealed, something that proves devastating to both women.

Not Medea is very funny, but also packs an emotional wallop.