So Small a Thing. Even tragedy can be played for comedy. Dominique Salerno’s scripts opens years following the gruesome events in Euripides’ Medea. Stuck together on an elevator for the deceased, the angry Medea (Jennie Olson Six) and arrogant Jason (John Anderson) verbally spar about the decline of their marriage, Jason’s infidelity with Glauce, and whether Medea was justified in murdering their sons.
The extended first scene contains nonstop, furious, and uncomfortably biting modern dialogue. Jason and Medea violently scream relentless profanity and insults. Director Robert Salerno amps up the intensity, but the mood calms down when Medea and Jason attempt to reconnect.
Six and Anderson are most effective when discussing different periods of being together. They come across as having a shared history, adding subtle emotion to the evening. It’s clear that both have made horrible choices. It’s up to the audience to decide if Medea’s brutality could have been avoided.
Given the outlandish premise, the script has surprising moments that can relate close to home. Although not always comfortable viewing, the frank look at love gone wrong provides an offbeat twist to the famed myth.
Think twice before taking a first date to the performance.
RAW Space, 923 First Avenue, downtown
Breaking Waves Festival. This year’s festival presents three short works by San Diego playwrights. “Turbulence,” by Katie Brady, is a comedy about a prideful mother who brags about her son’s athletic scholarship for college. But he and his mother have hidden secrets. In Michael Vegas Mussman’s “Kidnapping Lola,” Diego and Lil Bing abduct a young girl for money. It turns out one of them would rather be making films than committing crimes. And no one handles the illegal situation in an obvious or clichéd way.
In “Quarantine,” by Wesley Mullins, a doctor working with ebola patients meets strangely fascinating ghosts while he’s suspended in quarantine. Mullins deals with how fear impacts a person’s life. A monologue the doctor gives regarding a traumatic past leaves a visceral impact. Director Patricia Moran Collins blends humor and with thoughtful exchanges throughout the contrasting stories.