Clemson ‘Medea’ has Greenville connection

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The Clemson Players and performing arts department will present Medea. The Clemson Players and performing arts department will present Medea.

Although "Medea," the play being staged by the Clemson Players and the Clemson University performing arts department, was written in ancient Greece, it is a story that still resonates today.
"It's about love and loss," said Lauren French, a sophomore theater major from Greenville who plays the lead in the play. "Everybody can relate to that on some level."
The play runs through Sunday at the Brooks Center in Clemson. Directed by Clemson University associate professor of theater Shannon Robert, who is also associate artistic director and scenic designer in residence at Greenville's Warehouse Theatre, it has a decidedly Greenville flavor.
In addition to French, two other Fine Arts Center graduates – freshmen Madeline Tetsch and Thomas Fernandez – are involved in the production, while Gabby Norris, a junior from Travelers Rest, is assistant director. Katie Payne and Sara Tolson are cast in the chorus. The production's two guest artists – Richard Beveridge and Robert Simms, a magistrate in Greer – have Greenville ties as well.
"Greenville has a strong theater community," Robert said.
The tale by Euripedes follows the ill-fated Medea as she seeks revenge against Jason after he abandons her for King Creon's daughter. Scorned, exiled and alone in a foreign land, Medea vows to destroy all that Jason holds dear.
Robert said that the chosen translation of "Medea," by Kenneth McLeish and Frederic Raphael, has text that is very approachable for a contemporary audience and provides unique style challenges to theater students.
"It's basic human nature. The themes in the play are universal," said Tetsch, a freshman French major who had decided she was going to do something different at Clemson and avoid theater, the subject she studied while at the Fine Arts Center. That resolve didn't even last her first semester.
Fernandez, who moved to Greenville from Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, is the production's assistant lighting director. He attended the Fine Arts Center and interned at the Warehouse Theatre. He said both helped him prepare for his role in "Medea," but in different ways.
"At the Fine Arts Center, we were under more of a deadline. It was less real world and more teaching," he said. "The Warehouse allowed me to put what I learned at the Fine Arts Center into practice."
Fernandez, who is majoring in production studies with an emphasis on technical theater lighting, said lighting is as important to a play as the acting.
"If it's done correctly, the actors couldn't be there and the story would still be told," he said.
"We say this story is timeless," Norris said. "Even today you can find an 'us vs. them' ideology in every society, which makes 'Medea' a story worth telling."