In Aaron Mark’s one-man, 90-minute Another Medea, Marcus—a gay, cis male contemporary version of the mythical title character—discusses (spoiler alert if you aren’t familiar with the 2,000+-years-old tragedy that’s been adapted by everyone from Euripides to Luis Alfaro) murdering his twin daughters. “If I can do it, anyone can,” Marcus says gravely. It’s a moment clearly intended to give the audience introspective and empathetic pause.
There-but-for-the-grace-of-whatever, we might all be driven to such monstrousness, yes? No. There is nothing to empathize with here, despite the script’s narrative insistence that we do so because Marcus is emotionally fragile because his lover spurned him. He also calls his mother the c-word. (Little more is said about the mother, but the insinuation is clear: this is her fault as much as her son’s.) FFS.
Medea as mythology is one thing. But Cuckoo’s Theater’s production isn’t myth. This Medea is a man who makes shitty choices and then—when his decisions turn out badly—decides to kill his daughters and his ex, and then spend 90 minutes explaining that if his mom and lover had only treated him better, he wouldn’t have had to murder anybody. To be fair, Marcus also mentions “psychotic episodes,” but with the same brevity and depth as someone reporting they had bologna for lunch. Director Sara Carranza gets a capable performance from Marc James, but they’re both trapped in a script that has nothing to say except hey, this guy was driven to murder, but you can’t blame him because his mother and his ex hurt his feelings. If there’s an audience for this, it’s Aaron Mark. And he should take every seat in the theater. v