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happylucky no. 1, Brooklyn, New York

Medusa Volution
4.0Reviewer's Rating

One of the most famous Greek mythologies is one that you probably don’t know as well as you think you do – the story of Medusa, the beautiful young woman who was transformed into a hideous monster with a head of snakes and a gaze that could quite literally kill. But why did this happen to Medusa, a priestess who had devoted her life to the gods? Her transformation was a punishment – for the crime of being so beautiful that Poseidon, the god of the sea, decided to rape her in the sacred temple of Athena.

It’s a story that is disturbingly familiar, thousands of years after the Greek mythology was first orated. The injustices of Medusa’s story aligns all too easily with countless stories of modern women who were punished for being victims of violent crimes. It was this injustice that inspired Medusa Volution, a play written by an artist and a lawyer. According to the Creator’s Note in the playbill, the show started out as a modern-day trial for Medusa. But the millennia of women’s history and women’s injustice between now and then proved too powerful to be ignored, and so the show blossomed.

Picture by Mardok Studio (www.carolinemardok.com)

Amieva’s creation is at times sweet, at times dark. She and a small troupe of actors bring to life a short but action-packed drama of the subjugation of women: from the first patriarchal cultures crushing the belief systems of primordial, all-powerful goddesses, to the heartbreaking stories of 21st century women struggling with ideals, expectations, and shame that have been laid out for them by a long history of oppression. The story begins with the feel of an ancient epic, told as storytellers might have told it around a fire or in a banquet hall. But as the cultural centuries go by, the stories become more personal. Medusa, Salome, Eve…they are examined as if they are neighbors, coworkers, best friends.

Such a play, despite its rather dark subject matter, sounds like it could easily verge on campy. But Medusa Volution is no pink pussy hat. It educates; it reminds; it invokes – and all with the sharp wit of Amieva’s writing. The narration – or dialogue, depending on the scene – is matter-of-fact, with a twinge of dark humor.

The cast is perfectly picked for bringing this story together. They are captivating, both individually and as a team, and they seem to dance around each other seamlessly. It is no small thanks to them that the millennia-long epic of Medusa Volution truly feels like you are revisiting human history. Each actor – and the group as a whole – has mastered all the perceptions of Woman presented in the story: docile, beautiful, scary, vengeful, life-giving, and anything in between.

Medusa Volution is both a demonstration of female strength and a cry for justice. There is something so powerful about picking apart the stories that we have always been told to be truth – Medusa, Salome, Eve – and to realize that it doesn’t take that much empathy to see the patterns of patriarchal oppression woven into our cultures, our stories, and the ways we are taught to view ourselves.

  • Drama
  • By Sophie Amievaand Susu Bagert
  • Directed by Sophie Amieva
  • Cast includes: Sophie Amieva, Julia Cavagna, Chandler Eliah Eason, Julia Gu, Kayla Juntilla, Irina Varina, Gabrielle Young
  • happylucky no. 1, Brooklyn, New York
  • Until 24 February 2019

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