Medea's Got Some Issues
nytheatre.com review by Amy Lee Pearsall
October 12, 2012
If you enjoy solo-performance, get thee to the third annual United Solo Theatre Festival. Running at Theatre Row on 42nd Street through November 18th, this year’s United Solo features 100 short theatrical productions from around the world, the majority of which will only run once. Take a chance, pick a day, and take in some of the rich and varied offerings this delightful festival has to offer.
If I had to name the funniest thing I’ve seen so far this year, I would have to list Ana Asensio performing Emilio Williams’ one-woman show, Medea’s Got Some Issues as one of the strongest contenders. A Spanish riff on the Greek classic performed in English (got that?), Asensio’s accent is thick as hot chocolate in Madrid and her comedic timing is spot on. Penelope Cruz should watch her back.
Williams has infused Euripedes’ tale with Iberian spunk, mannerisms, and plenty of hilarious diversions from its usual path. The chorus is represented in recorded voiceover, and we see Medea’s passionate plea to Creon played out via a hand puppet show. In addition to playing Medea – and the actress playing Medea – Asensio channels various lecturers in the realm of academia to discuss Medea and what she represents.
Director Benjamin H. Kamine clearly knows a thing or two about what’s funny, and he and Asensio make for a formidable comedic team. That said, considering the degree of Asensio’s existing regional accent, her trying to adopt additional regional accents for other characters presented an unnecessary challenge for the 60-minute piece; the fact that a given character was British could have easily been cut.
Geanme Martin pulls double-duty as both costume and set designer, suiting Asensio up in an impressive white toga with tons of gold jewelry, and decorating the set with a small white backless loveseat and a Doric column with a wash basin set atop of it. As for the giant bib, baby dolls, and bottle of ketchup – well, no spoilers. I’ll just say it was inspired.
Medea’s Got Some Issues only plays once at United Solo, but I am certain it will be produced again elsewhere. Keep your eyes open for its next incarnation.