Three legendary tales are melded into one unique theatrical experience at Yale Repertory Theatre Sept. 20-Oct. 12, when Bill Rauch's Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella opens the rep's 2002-03 season.
Conceived by Rauch in 1984 in his senior year at college, this mix of Euripides, Shakespeare and Rodgers and Hammerstein was produced in Los Angeles in 1998 by Cornerstone Theater Company and The Actor's Gang, and has now been revised for the resident professional theatre at Yale, in New Haven, CT. This is being billed as the world premiere of the new version.
Conceiver Rauch and Tracy Young adapted the three texts into the current form. They used Paul Roche's translation of Medea, adding music and lyrics by Shishir Kurup. The Shakespeare "Scottish play" was also plundered, as was the Grimm-inspired TV musical by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist-librettist Oscar Hammerstein II.
According to production notes, "Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella blends the traditions of Greek drama with those of Shakespearean tragedy and the American musical comedy into one theatrical tour de force. Sometimes unfolding simultaneously, at other times spilling into each other, each work intensifies and illuminates the other two, and the whole affirms the power of the medium itself."
Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella is directed by Bill Rauch and Tracy Young. Choreography is by Sabrina Peck. Music direction is by Steven Argila. Designers are Rachel Hauck (set), David Zinn (costume), Jennifer Tipton (lighting) and David Budries (sound).
The 27-member cast is led by Caroline Clay as Medea, Stephen Pelinski as Macbeth, and Heather Mazur as Cinderella.
The other roles in Medea will be played by an all female company, including Jennifer Griffin (Jason/Chorus), Jayne Houdyshell (Nurse/Chorus), Kate Mulligan (Chorus Leader), Joan Schirle (Tutor/Creon/Chorus), and Chavon Hampton, Latrice Hampton and Staysha Silva (Medea's Sons).
The other roles in Macbeth will be played by an all-male company, including David Paul Francis (Banquo), Horace Little (Duncan), Peter Macon (Malcolm), Christopher Liam Moore (Lady Macbeth), with Peter Howard, Ryan King, Derek Lucci, Adam O'Byrne, and Maulik Pancholy.
The other roles in Cinderella will be played by Stefani Cvijetic (Portia), Alaina Reed Hall (Godmother), Kimberly JaJuan (Queen), Peter Kim (Prince), Jennifer Lim (Joy), April Ortiz (Stepmother), Dan Parker (Herald), and Christopher Wells (King).
Rauch co-founded Cornerstone Theater Company in 1986 and serves as its artistic director. He has directed over 40 of the company's productions, including the majority of the company's community collaborations nationwide. Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella marks Rauch's return to New Haven for the first time since the Long Wharf Theatre production of The Good Person of New Haven. For his directorial work, he has received L.A. Weekly, Drama-Logue, Garland, and Helen Hayes Awards, and has been twice nominated for the Ovation Award for Best Director. From 1992 to 1998, he served on the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group (two years as a member of the Executive Committee). Currently an adjunct professor at UCLA, Rauch graduated from Harvard College in 1984 where he received the Louis Sudler Prize for outstanding graduating artist.
Young is a writer and director who creates original work for the stage in collaboration with other theatre artists. From 1987-2000, she was a member of the Los Angeles-based theatre company, The Actor's Gang. Young's original work includes the musical Hysteria (Ovation Award, Best Direction; P.E.N. West Playwriting Finalist); the "drug fantasia" musical Euphoria (Ovation and LA Weekly Awards, Musical of the Year; Entertainment Weekly's Production of the Year); A Fairy Tale, co-created with Daniel T. Parker and Chris Wells (Garland Awards for Writing and Direction); and Dreamplay, which will premiere at the Actor's Gang in 2003.
Single tickets are $25-$40. The Yale Rep staging is presented at the University Theatre (222 York Street, New Haven) Sept. 20-Oct. 12, with an opening set for Sept. 26. For ticket information, call (203) 432-1234, or visit yalerep.org.
— By Kenneth Jones