Friday, Jun 23, 2017

Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

Along with Tracy Young, Artistic Director Bill Rauch, M/M/C (as it is called by nearly everyone) combines three mythologically grounded works: Euripides’ “Medea,” Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical version of “Cinderella.” One the face of it, a deeply weird combination, but Rauch and Young felt that all three tales share common themes of magic, love, murder, obsession, and the struggle between generations.

The set was stripped down, with props (and, to some degree actors) moving from play to play with deceptive cleverness. The multiple levels were excellent markers of a different play, strongly supported by the costuming.

I know Macbeth well, and I know the fairy tale Cinderella, but I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Medea, nor am I a generally a fan of musicals. The main reason I don’t like them is that most composers like to write lyrics that ‘layer’ building from a simple line and adding voices and lines overlapping and intertwining. It’s like they are trying to create a symphony out of voices. Which is fine as long as everyone is PERFECTLY on tempo; otherwise it just sounds like a muddle of music. And since lyrics are usually the way the plot is moved along . . . the audience loses track of what is happening.

Which is, sadly, what happened with M/M/C. I’m not sure if the mixing board was set incorrectly, or the sound engineer was having a bad day, but the music was way too loud, and when singing occurred, you basically could not hear anything else going on. So major chunks of plot (especially with Medea) were lost to warbles and music.

I thought Jeff King and Christopher Liam Moore were excellent as the Macbeths – I hope to see them do the play ‘straight’ sometime! The three weird sisters were also wonderful. Dee Maaske in the role of Nurse was a poignant counterpoint to Medea’s madness, a really enjoyed her performance. Overall, I have to give every actor praise for being very present and aware of their role within the complexity of the larger production. It must have been extremely difficult, and very easy to step on one another’s lines if they weren’t careful.