In a season of firsts, The Medusa Play is no exception. It is the first student work produced on the Ursinus main stage in almost 20 years.
Performances are Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday April 7, at 2 p.m.
The Medusa Play is modern take on the Medusa myth and examines racial identity through the concept of performance. The production follows Meddie Lark, the re-imagined Medusa, as her character explores whether the truth lies with the speaker or the audience. Meddie, an actor living in Philadelphia, must confront her own version of truth as it is perceived by an updated Greek chorus. The audience along with the characters of The Medusa Play will decide if Meddie is a hero, villain or someone else entirely.
Similar to Meddie, Bey is an artist rooted in the Philadelphia theater community. Bey has performed various works at Simpatico Theatre Company, Interact Theatre Company and Philly Improv Theatre, and has acted in Ursinus main stage productions such as Putnam County Spelling Bee, By The Way Meet Vera Stark and Twelve Angry Jurors.
Bey’s resume also includes student-led productions such as Good Kids and Argos Burning. Prior to The Medusa Play, Bey’s full-length play, The Playground, was performed by the student-run group Breakaway Productions in December 2016.
Tamanya M. M. Garza, guest director of The Medusa Play, is extremely impressed with the Bey and the student cast and crew involved with the production. Garza says, “I have been so floored by the students I have had a chance to work with during this production. They have brought so much creativity and grace with them to every rehearsal. Much of the work done with the chorus was devised with the students in the cast and it is more incredible than I ever could have imagined.”
Garza has been a freelance director in Philadelphia for 17 years. She has spent most of her career focusing on new plays and more recently has been working on new plays by local playwrights of color. Garza directed Bey in a concert reading of Fuel at the Simpatico Theatre Company in Philadelphia last summer and is happy to direct The Medusa Play this spring.
Garza explains why she was drawn to the project: “It takes on issues that we as a culture are just beginning to grapple with in depth. This play examines race, love, creativity, beauty and magic through all of the lenses that people of color must navigate in their everyday lives. This play is a complicated and stunning look at what it means to be an artist in a black body right now in this minute.”
The Medusa Play production team includes a seasoned group of professional artists from the Philadelphia theater community. Meghan Jones is the technical director; Carly Williams is designing the set; Keyonna Butler is designing costumes; Angela Myers is designing the lighting; and Dwayne Alistair is the videographer.
Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for seniors, students and staff. Tickets can be purchased online at ursinus.edu/tickets and they will be available at the box office before the show. For inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (610) 409-3030. —By Jordan Scharaga ’17