Medea is the Ancient Greek tragedy that tells the story of Jason and Medea.
UMKC Theatre’s final showings of the Greek tragedy Medea are taking place this week, and U-News had the pleasure of talking to two of the play’s leads.
Lindsay Lillig is in her 5th and final year at UMKC, and is pursuing a degree in Performance Theater. She portrays the title character, Medea, who is in Lillig’s words an, “unstoppable, fierce woman.” Medea is betrayed by her husband Jason, and her resulting plot for revenge is the premise of the play.
“I wanted to live in her struggle – it’s a great challenge and privilege as an actor to portray a Greek legend. Her journey has been unlike any other character’s I’ve played in the past. My goal is to always try to broaden my scope as an actor and Medea has definitely done that,” Lillig said.
Lillig is married to her husband Frank Lillig, whom she met through the theatre department. She cites her marriage as one of her inspirations for her role.
“I’m a lover. Medea’s main struggle is that she is betrayed by her husband, the man she literally killed for. She loved him that much. I am married. I would kill for my husband. I know how she feels on that front. If my husband left me… I would be lost, too,” Lillig said.
The difficulty of bringing the character to life has expanded her views on acting, according to Lillig. The play’s director, Josh Brody, pushed Lillig to find see every side of a role or situation.
“If we think something should be small, he makes us play it as huge as possible. It doesn’t always stay that way, but it’s a great way of finding the middle ground, the most truthful sense of the scene. This way of approaching scenes has really forced me to explore new angles that I wouldn’t have before,” Lillig said.
Lillig believes the play is something special, and encourages audiences to see it for its ability to leave an impression.
“The show is unlike any other play going on in Kansas City right now. It doesn’t have a button ending. It’s just this raw, relentless slice of life. People should be a part of something like that – something that makes them think weeks after seeing it,” Lillig said.
Furthermore, she believes modern audiences will appreciate the play. Unpredictability and inevitability color the actions of Medea’s characters, and Lillig sees this as a vivid reflection of reality.
“People do unexpected, unexplainable things. These people do them because they think there is no other way to keep on living, to reach a new stasis. Life doesn’t make sense. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it is exactly that: true. Yet still, somewhere, underneath everything, there is love,” Lillig said.
Petey (Patrick) McGee
Petey McGee is a 4th year student at UMKC, and is pursuing a degree in Performance Theater. In Medea he portrays Jason, the antagonist of the play, the man who leaves his wife Medea for another woman. Despite the complexity of the character, McGee feels a combination of his training and past experiences help him bring Jason to life.
“Past relationships have helped me a lot in this particular role,” McGee said,” My biggest challenge for this play is having to be barefoot.”
Despite its origins as a Classical Greek play, Medea has continued to be popular in contemporary times. McGee explains this through its relevance to modern life, and the timelessness of love.
“There are so many modern correlations in Medea: the roles of men and women in society, concept of family, and plenty more. I believe love is a timeless concept that comes up constantly. People do crazy things for love, and you can’t have love without hate,” McGee said.
UMKC’s modern rendition of the play will impact those who watch it, according to McGee.
“Our version of Medea because it will definitely be different than anything you would see in a Classical Greek play, different in a good way,” McGee said”, you’ll leave the theatre feeling affected.”