By Marcina Zaccaria
In “Another Medea,” we meet the incarcerated Marcus Sharp, a charismatic and enigmatic onetime New York actor who recounts, in gruesome detail, how his obsessions with a wealthy doctor named Jason and the myth of Medea lead to horrific, unspeakable events.
Inspired by true events and the work of Euripides, Tom Hewitt plays Marcus and other characters. Hewitt is a sometimes chilling solo performer who doesn’t fail in captivating the audience. His silver hair, definitive gestures, and straight-forward gaze make him one-to-watch.
We get a sense of the prison walls that surround Marcus Sharp as we hear each moment of the intense story. It is a crime drama that is more narrative than psychological. It doesn’t spike like a thriller, but rather, it is repetitive, unswerving, and persistent. What compels this killer? It is a desire to be loved or feel love intensely? Is it rage, jealousy, or despair?
Aaron Mark, writer and director of this solo play, pens a script that mentions many other versions of Medea. We are asked to remember Diana Rigg’s Medea, Fiona Shaw’s Medea, Zoe Caldwell’s Medea, Judith Anderson’s Medea, among others. The battle between Medea and Jason has been told and retold, adapted and reimagined time after time after time. This portrait of Medea is meant to be different. This version of Medea explores the use and prevalence of myth in our lives as well as the dangers in becoming too immersed in a role.
Hewitt, who has played villains including Pontius Pilate, Dracula, and Scar in “The Lion King,” is prepared for the challenge. Though the show is deeply intense, there are some moments of levity as this solo performer discusses dealings with his agent, the possibility of a national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and deciding whether to travel abroad on a national tour or give all of his time to an obsessive and tragic love affair. These articulate details are not lost in the greater momentum leading up to the end of the play.
Production elements are spare. A simple table and chair, a few lights, and some opera music set the stage. As Hewitt speaks out towards the audience, we get a sense of intimacy in this one-on-one account. Although he is often engaging, we are never drawn to feel awe or extraordinary empathy. We hear about the killing at the end of the play from a safe distance and are left a bit surprised. It is somewhat intellectual, but in the very best way, as the tragic events of the play lead us to ask further questions.
“Another Medea” is playing as part of the All for One Festival until Wednesday, October 30th at The Cherry Lane Theatre at 38 Commerce Street. Additional shows at this solo theater festival are running until November 9th. For additional information, please call 212.398.7180 or e-mail email@example.com.