Photo cred - Michael Leon
It’s not often that a play so stripped down and bare can so effectively capture our attention in an age full of distraction. It takes some pretty powerful performances to carry the weight of the heavily loaded themes presented in The Medea Effect without the aid of elaborate sets, multiple costume changes, and special effects we have come to expect these days, but actors Jennifer Morehouse and James Loye brilliantly deliver so much raw emotion and grit, you will feel it in your bones.
In the Medea Effect, Ada is a woman tormented by her demons, who shows up to audition for Eurypedes’ Medea, the classic Greek tragedy of a mother who brutally slaughters her children to avenge her own heartbreak. Uninterested in listening to Ada's audition, director Ugo, attempts to dismiss her, but is soon drawn in by her tenacity, as parallels begin to be drawn between not only Medea herself, but his own afflicted past. As the two characters begin to chip and scratch away at each other’s hardened facades, we slowly begin to uncover the horrifying truths that lie beneath the surface of their reality, but also our own.
Designer Lyne Paquette drives the play’s themes of despair, dislocation, substance abuse and profound loss even further by underscoring poignant moments with subtle soundscapes and visual projections juxtaposed with the bare bones of the lonely stage. The Medea Effect slowly builds on its dark tones and moods until finally brought to the bone-chilling climax, effectively drawing the audience into the very depths of the characters’ inevitable unhinging. Everyone, from actor to viewer alike, is left marked, as though they've just barely managed to come out the other side.
This is pure acting at its finest, nothing more nothing less, and is the perfect example of why the live stage remains such a tangible form of art.
The Medea Effect runs until Saturday Feb. 7 @ The Talisman Theatre at Segal Centre for Performing Arts Studio, 5170 Cote St. Catherine Rd.
Box Office: 514 739-7944 Online: Tickets- Segal Centre website