Medea:Cerberus

IMAG1375

In this all new adaptation to the Medea lore, Jason has wronged Medea, but this time, he has three versions of Medea to worry about.

Medea: Cerberus

By Michael Verderber, adapted from Euripides

Directed by Rebekah Ramos & Michael Verderber

 

CAST:

MEDEA – Andrea Lorin

JASON – Josue Villarreal

NURSE – Alexandra Hernandez

TUTOR – Emanuel Ibanez

CREON – Charles “CJ” Lillie

IMAG1383

VENGEFUL MEDEA – Katherine Verderber

MATERNAL MEDEA – Ryann Haese

AIGEUS – Julio Martinez

GLAUSE – Deborah Gerd

MERMEROS – Alexandra Hernandez PHERES – Ellie Andrade

CHORUS / SPAWN – Ellie Andrade, Beth Marie Cantu,

Alexandra Hernandez, Emanuel Ibanez, Robert Trujillo

K. Orozco-Verderber as Vengeful Medea.

K. Orozco-Verderber as Vengeful Medea.

CREW:

Direction – Rebekah Ramos & Michael Verderber

Lighting and Sound  – Rebekah Ramos

Live Percussion – Emanuel Ibanez & Michael Verderber

Score – Robert “Poodle” Trujillo

 

 

Ellie Andrade  (Chorus, Pheres, Narrator) – Ms. Andrade is a new actress to Zero Untitled and has previously appeared in Don Nigro’s Ravenscroft and I’ll See You at Heaven’s Gate. She attends TAMU-Kingsville and is majoring in English.

 

Beth Marie Cantu  (Chorus, Narrator, Market Girl) – A long-time performer for ZU, Cantu is the director of Premature Punchline (our comedy troupe) and has recently performed in Nightmare of Oz and the mime show Wanted: Dead or a Mime, among others. She will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in English at the end of this semester.

 

Deborah Gerd (Glause) – Ms. Gerd has been performing with Zero Untitled for years and her credits include The Wonderland Massacre, An Early Mourning, and many others. She teaches English at H.M. King High School.

 

Alexandra Hernandez (Nurse, Mermeros, Chorus) – ZU is proud to announce that this is Alexandra’s first time on stage! Her next production with the company will be in Dr. Faustus in a few months. She is getting her degree in English and psychology.

 

Ryann Haese (Maternal Medea) – One of the new girls to the company, Ryann was last seen in Don Nigro’s Ravenscroft, playing the role of Olivia Ravenscroft. She is the only actress in the world who has played the role of “Olivia Ravenscroft,” as Don Nigro gave the character a full name for our production only.

 

Emanuel Ibanez (Tutor, Chorus) – An English student-teacher at Riviera HS and long distance runner by day, Mr. Ibanez frequently pops in to perform in productions such as A Little Tied Up, The Writing Process, It’s Not Very Effective and The Wonderland Massacre, to name a few.

 

Charles “CJ” Lillie (Creon) – Lillie has recently written Wolfe of the West and played the enigmatic Oz in Nightmare of Oz in Kingsville and Corpus Christi. He is currently a teacher at Presbyterian Pan American School and has a degree in English.

 

Andrea Lorin (Medea) – Easily one of Zero Untitled’s busiest actresses, Andrea has appeared in Rearview, The Burning of Mary, and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, to name just a handful. She attends TAMU-Kingsville and is double majoring in English and sociology.

 

Julio Martinez (Aigeus, Chorus) – A veteran with a ton of experience, Mr. Martinez has appeared in works such as Café Triste, Nightmare of Oz, The Factory, to name a few.  He flourishes in eclectic roles and is currently doing graduate work at TAMU-Kingsville.

 

Rebekah Ramos (Co-Director, Lights, Sound) –  Our resident techie, Rebekah juggles both sides of the stage, acting in Fishnado and running tech for all ZU productions including Leave a Message, Coming Out Party, and the writing for The Brothers Complex. She has directed Coach of the Year and The Graveyard Shift, to name a few. She will graduate this semester with a degree in English.

 

Robert “Poodle” Trujillo (Chorus, Narrator) – Quickly becoming one of Zero Untitled’s most prevalent actors, Trujillo has played comedic roles such as Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew and is a member of Premature Punchline, while his dramatic work include the White Rabbit in The Wonderland Massacre. He is enrolled at TAMU-Kingsville to get his bachelor’s degree.

 

Katherine Verderber (Vengeful Medea) – As the co-main stage director, she has her hands in every production. Her more recent contributions have been Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, writing and starring in her Boston-filmed poetry video This One and Lucretia in The Rape of Lucrece in St. Louis and Texas. She teaches English at TAMU-Kingsville.

 

Michael Verderber (Co-Director, Live Percussion, Playwright) – As the second half to the husband-wife team, Michael also has his hands in the programming of the season. Some of his directorial credits include The Taming of the Shrew, David Mamet’s A Life with No Joy In It, Still Standing Still Trailer #1, and others. He lectures in English at TAMU-Corpus Christi.

 

Josue Villarreal (Jason) – A newcomer to the ZU crew, Josue only has a few credits with the company – a performance in Premature Punchline, Textual Overture, as well as the play Don’t Let the Dog Bite You in which he played Death. He is enrolled at TAMUK and is majoring in communication.

Post-performance at TAMUCC

Post-performance at TAMUCC

Medea: Cerberus is published by Fountainhead Press in the anthology Nonspace: Theatre Off The Stage

*********************************************

REVIEW by Coastal Bend Theatre Guide writer Caleb McBroom

REVIEW of “Medea: Cerberus” by Zero Untitled Productions
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Many have heard that famous saying, but you won’t be able to fully understand it until you’ve seen Medea. If you’ve never seen the famous play by Euripides, or dread reading the old Greek text alone, now is the perfect time to experience this story in a new, highly original way. This new adaptation by playwright Michael Verderber successfully brings a new edge to the classic that many of us know and loathe.

When I first walked into the performance space, because make no mistake, this show does not take place in a theatre, I wondered if I should lower my expectations a bit. However, directors Michael Verderber and Rebekah Ramos addressed the audience before the show and explained that Zero Untitled, the group that produced the show, specializes in doing found space theatre. For those of you who don’t know, found space theatre is essentially theatre that takes place in anywhere other than a traditional performance space. Tonight’s performance was held in a small projector room that was only able to seat around 40 audience members, but thankfully Zero Untitled was able to fill almost every seat.

Personally, I loved the use of found space, especially because the members of the cast and crew found ways to use the closeness to their advantage. Many moments in the play felt almost interactive and thanks to the great direction from Verderber and Ramos, the staging of the actors felt incredibly immersive. For example, in the scene where Medea talks to Aigeus (pronounced Ay-GEE-us) about seeking asylum in Athens, there were two actors trying to sell fruit to the audience. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I really felt like these two ladies were actually trying to sell me a fruit, so much so that I found myself shaking my head and mouthing “no” to the characters on stage.

This is just one example of how the company used the intimate space to their advantage and the play is full of immersive moments like that.
There were many strong performances tonight, but none better than the three Medeas. Yes, that’s right, THREE Medeas. Instead of having the traditional Greek chorus to guide her and discuss the story, Medea had two sides of her psyche with her at all times. In the program the two other Medeas are referred to as “Vengeful Medea” and “Maternal Medea”, but they might as well have been named Chaos and Order, or Animal and Human. One side of Medea was a white-eyed statue that acted like the good angel on Medea’s shoulder, while the other was a feather and vine covered fiend that acted like the devil on Medea’s shoulder.

These two schizophrenic manifestations accompanied Medea throughout the play, reacted silently yet physically during scenes, and pushed her into the actions for which Medea is infamous. Not only was the hair and makeup for these characters top-notch, but so were their acting choices. I felt the functioning of these 3 characters together was what really gave Medea: Cerberus not only the name for the show, but the heart of the show.
The tech for the show was incredibly well done, especially considering the performance space. Lighting and sound was handled by director Rebekah Ramos, who wielded color washes and light cues with such accuracy that for a moment I forgot I was in anything other than a theatre space.

There were a few sound cues to speak of, but most of the transitions were carried by live percussion from Emanuel Ibanez and director/playwright/frontman Michael Verderber. I never saw what they were playing specifically, but the energetic drum beats were varied and entertaining. I did, however, miss the drum beats during a few of the longer transitions. One of the biggest standouts in the technical design of the show was the costume and makeup design for the two other Medeas. The program didn’t specify who designed the costumes and makeup, but they were of such high quality that I was reminded of the TV makeup competition “Face Off”.

The direction by Ramos and Verderber was highly ambitious. In my limited run as a novice theatre critic I have seen many productions with far less energy and heart. Don’t be fooled, this is not a perfect production, but I definitely give everyone involved in the show an “A” for effort. The use of blackouts for scene transitions may turn off more experienced theatre goers, but the need for them in a dynamic script like this is easily understood. There were several scenes with flashbacks in the middle of them, which were executed wonderfully, and this quick back-and-forth motion of time made the brief blackouts necessary. If there was too much of anything, it was yelling. I’ve seen 3 versions of Medea now, and they all featured a hearty helping of screaming, but this production took it further than any other. At times it really worked, but during many moments I found myself wishing the actors or directors would find a different way of raising the stakes.

One more small note I could give the directors is they should caution audience members about the highly interactive moments in the play. I won’t ruin the surprise, but one in-your-face moment in particular seemed like it deserved a warning.
Overall, it was a great night of found space theatre. At around an hour long, this adaptation captures everything essential about the classic Greek tale. I would recommend to everyone who has or hasn’t seen the original, but I especially recommend it to any teachers directing UIL One-Act plays. If you’re looking for a fresh take on the original play, go see this production which has an encore TONIGHT at Texas A&M Kingsville, and another performance on the 29th at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Trust me, you’ve never seen Medea like this.

*********************************************

 

ZERO-097

Be Sociable, Share!