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Inside Iowa State
Jan. 24, 1997

Greek tragedy gets modern twist in ISU Theatre production

Battered women come to the forefront in the next ISU Theatre production, The Medea Myth.

The play is a modern adaptation of Euripides' Greek tragedy, Medea. The story centers on a foreign-born woman and her two young children. When the woman's husband abandons her for a young princess, she is unable to return to her homeland and has no protection from the king. Her only friend is an elderly nurse. Eventually, she sacrifices her offspring to prevent them from falling into the hands of her betrayers.

Playwright Dan Plato, chair of the theater department at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, has replaced the classical choral odes in the Greek tragedy with real-life stories of contemporary battered women whose attempts to save their own lives and the lives of their children cost them their freedom.

Shirley Basfield Dunlap, director of the Minority Theatre Workshop, takes Plato's concept a step further. Each chorus is composed of women from a different international culture "to show the impact of this global disease -- domestic violence," she said.

Dunlap directed last November's production of Fortinbras.

Joining Jim Trenberth, ISU Theatre resident lighting designer, will be guest scenic designer Brenda Jones, associate professor of art and design. Jones, whose paintings frequently have been on display around central Iowa, has designed a bold set based on the architecture of Ancient Greece.

Guest costume designer is Myrna Colley-Lee, whose credits include the Cable ACE award-winning production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, starring Ruby Dee and Earl Hyman.

The Medea Myth will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14-15 and 21-22 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 and 23. All performances will be in Fisher Theater. Tickets are $7.75 and available at the Iowa State Center ticket office and TicketMaster outlets.

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