Mar 26

“Not Medea”: Scorned Woman Gets Her Say

Photo by Jake Scaltreto. Who is their right mind double-crosses a half goddess, dark sorceress capable of patricide on a whim? That idiot, Jason.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Allison Gregory
Directed by Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez

March 15 – 30, 2019
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Gillian Daniels

(Watertown, MA)  The myth of Medea is a story of betrayal and fury, where Jason of the Argonauts takes a sorceress wife for material gain and is deeply surprised when she takes her vengeance out on him and their children. Here, the myth of a child-killing witch fits roughly over a more contemporary story of an overworked nurse in pediatric oncology as she takes a night for herself to recount a bitter divorce with humor and then with searing rage. In mainstream culture, the Classical myth of Medea has become known as the story of a mother so cartoonishly evil, it’s difficult to feel the full impact of the horror her narrative contains without exploring each bloody layer. Luckily, the audience of Not Medea has been blessed with both the intimacy of a stripped-down theater experience and the raw passion of actress Juliet Bowler as the titular-woman-who-is-not-Medea-though-she-also-plays-Medea.

Not Medea appears to be a combination of genres, a one-woman show fused with a Classical play, complete with Chorus (Cassandra Meyer). There’s a late reveal that further opens the story into discomfort and parental Hell, but the melodrama keeps the bones of a Greek tragedy by centering a character’s terrible trauma and the wisdom she gains from it. Bowler as the Woman and director Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez make remarkable choices in humanizing a character who’s not a clear-cut heroine.

Bowler, as always, brings grit to her role, and, here, sympathy. She plays Medea and the Woman with the same tumult of anger, lust, and hurt, even if their actions aren’t quite identical. We get the sense of this stressed, tough as nails nurse seeing this play and hating how much she sees herself in it. Certainly, as an audience, we are asked to judge each character presented in the show, like Gene Dante as the heroic Jason with a selfish surfer dude’s dimwitted edge, but we are never made to regard them with the inhumanity and scorn that so many versions of Medea heap on these characters.

I like how brave the play is in addressing the fallibility of mothers. It’s something I’ve been delighted to see in few other shows where women who have children are not portrayed as goddesses or people always able to see the best in their kids, but fallible individuals with their own sources of pain. Yes, facing the imperfection of mothers can be a tough sit, but the way this show explores all the troubles and regrets of motherhood is deeply refreshing.

Even the Chorus seems to have some internal struggles regarding her relationship to the story. Meyer repeatedly nears the end of the stage with fear, unable to leave. She also, memorably, seems furious with the Woman for addressing the audience directly–obviously the Chorus’s job, and a delicious meta moment in the narrative.

Not everything works for me. Playwright Allison Gregory’s makes some distracting choices. The sections of the play that more strictly adhere to the source material often become repetitive, jarring with the contemporary ebb and flow of Not Medea’s other, less Classical scenes. I think there are story elements in the show that would have packed a firmer punch with some careful editing. Also, I found Gregory’s choice in names for the Woman’s offspring just a little too on-the-nose.

Ultimately, the play succeeds in what it seems to set out to do: exploring the layers of a Classical myth with understanding and thought. Like the queen goddess Hera angry at her husband for his many dalliances or the punishment Aphrodite earns for not being loyal to a husband she was made to marry in the first place, popular Greco-Roman mythology has been filtered through a lens that dismisses female anger. Not Medea leans into that fury and, like many Greek tragedies, comes out the other side wiser for it.


Share with Your Audience
Oct 09

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Uranium: “Delicate Particle Logic”

Photos by Jake Scaltreto; Christine Power as Lise Meitner, Barbara Douglass as Edith Hahn. Blanket babies are the easiest babies.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre Company
By Jennifer Blackmer
Directed by Betsy S. Goldman
Dramaturgy by Regine Vital  
Violence choreography by Cassie Chapados  
Dance choreography by Meghan Hornblower  
Language consultation by Allison Olivia Choat  
Artistic ASL direction by Elbert Joseph

September 28th – October 13th, 2018
ASL-Interpreted Performance: October 13th at 8pm
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Trigger warning: One character is willingly committed to an asylum, misandry

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Science and art both relentlessly pursue truth and meaning. In the past, scientific and medical procedures were performed in front of witnesses, audiences, if you will, who were able to verify the truth of what took place. For me, science and art were never at odds, and part of my overall goal as an artist is to get audiences to understand that. We still think of science and art as two separate cultures, but they’re more alike than most people realize.”

  • Flat Earth Theatre interview with Jennifer Blackmer

(Watertown, MA) Jennifer Blackmer crams a lot into two hours of theatre. Delicate Particle Logic (DPL) tells the story of how Otto Hahn stole nuclear fission from Lise Meitner. He committed war crimes for the Nazis in the name of “chemistry,” and claimed the Nobel Prize in 1944… Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. DPL is about Otto Hahn’s work-wife, Meitner, his home-wife, Edith Junghans Hahn, and their imaginary friendship. Edith and Meitner’s performance of emotional and physical labor on behalf of a man holding more respect for his work than for his partners. Between the science and the toxic masculinity, there is art: glorious, painful, epiphanic art. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Mar 26

ANTIGONE: Death at the Parthenon


Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Original Tragedy by Sophocles
Adapted by Lewis Galantiere from the play by Jean Anouilh
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

ONE WEEK LEFT: March 26th @ 7:30pm; March 29th @ 8pm; March 30th @ 8pm; March 31st @ 8pm
The Black Box at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
From the MBTA — take the Red Line to Central Square in Cambridge; then take the 70 or the 70A bus.
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Watertown, MA) I could provide an enthusiastic review for every aspect of this play.  I will start with a nod to costuming. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Oct 10

“A Bright Room Called Day”: an ambitious call for resistance

Photo by Jake Scaltreto; Prologue: Evening Meal in a Windstorm — with Lindsay Eagle, Juliet Bowler, Noah Simes and Isaiah Max Plovnick.

Produced by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Tony Kushner
Directed by Dori. A Robinson

September 30-October 14, 2017
The Black Box at the Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Watertown, MA) A Bright Room Called Day transports us back to a sitting room in 1930s Germany, inhabited my minor actors, eccentric filmmakers and artists. This bohemian gaggle of comrades band together in the early 1930s through their love of Communism, Art and Revolution. As 1933 marches on, the world around them darkens and the sitting room becomes their last refuge from Hitler’s rule. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience