The Masquers club, under the direction of Allison Kane, recreated Medea with such conviction and talent that it transcends the ordinary expectations audiences bring to high school productions.
"I do wish the actors are able to shake you from your sleep, at least for a little while," Kane wrote in the program. "How must women find themselves in a world of men? When no one is innocent how shall people be judged?"
The talented cast presents each of the main characters and reveals the thinking that guides their actions. As the tale unfolds there is much to consider. How can power be used judiciously? What to make of a husband who changes loyalties? Is Medea driven mad or is she inexplicably evil? The audience is left to judge.
Janelle Yull plays Medea. She portrays the torrents of emotions running through the central character and confronts the audience with a woman who is a victim and then a victimizer.
At first the love-struck Medea uses her dark powers on behalf of the youthful heroic Jason, played by Drew de Vos. With the spells she casts on all who stand in his way she enables him to regain the kingdom taken from his father. She kills her brother to help him escape and flees her country with Jason.
She bears Jason two sons. But any hope of love and devotion between them is dashed when Jason, portrayed with cool detachment by de Vos, abandons her to marry King Creon's daughter for the political power and financial advantage such a union brings.
Tim Maher captures the authoritarian nature of Creon in his performance and gives the audience a strong representation of his brand of law. His edict banishes Medea and her offspring with sudden urgency, ripping her from her adopted country and the children from their birthright.
Jason Glenn creates the character of Medea's young son with the right mix of innocence and tenderness needed to elicit the audience's empathy. His tutor and other minor characters work seamlessly within the ensemble of actors.
The Greek chorus played by Ginette Andre, Abby Bacher, Sarah Lilley, Stephanie Lento and Montana Robertson are effective in both what they say and in using body language to add another dimension to the play's action. They function with precision.
Medea's old nurse played by Leanne McNall is the first on stage. She introduces the themes of the play and later tries to advise her mistress to leave the city. Her words go unheeded as Medea bears her loss with fury and does unthinkable acts to take her revenge.
McNall renders a powerful and vivid account of the off-stage scene her character witnesses. It is through her character's eyes and McNall's gut-wrenching description that the audience learns about the horrific fate Medea has brought down on Creon and his daughter.
With McNall's performance the audience is gripped by Medea's fury and is held there as the tragedy draws to its fearsome resolution.
Credit must be given to stage manager Julie Landry and the other directors who worked with her to get the tech directions (Rory Stimpson); the lighting (Sara Green); the props (Adelaide Zhang); the make up (Amanda Crotty and Gab Fabiano); and the sound (Emily Penta) for this complex staging right.
Senior Adam Sperry came up with the striking program design and the imaginative costumes helping to interpret the characters and to bring them to life.