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Play Review - Ravishing Medusa by Rachel Graf Evans

Earlier this week I caught a performance of “Ravishing Medusa” a thought-provoking one-hour play by Rachel Graf Evans.

Following the story of the Medusa, a beautiful virgin in classical mythology who was raped by Poseidon and subsequently transformed into a Gorgon, the play challenges viewers to draw a comparison between the misogynistic culture of the ancient world and that of contemporary western society.

Throughout the play women are chastised by society, particularly for their sexual choices and experiences. Athena is criticized for her choice to remain celibate, while Medusa is punished for being raped. I found this idea strongly reflected the catch 22 modern women face with regards to their own sexual practices.

What I enjoyed most was the play’s ability to address these themes in a way that is relatable to a contemporary audience without sacrificing the integrity in depicting an ancient culture. There is a tendency of many modern works when dealing with mythological topics to make it relatable to modern people at the expense of the source material. This really grates on me as a classical enthusiast, so it was very refreshing to see an adaptation of myth walk the line between ancient and modern so seamlessly.

Ravishing Medusa has a limited run and if you’re in the New York area this weekend I highly recommend going to see it.

You can check performance times below:

Notes: Above photo by Photo by Dijon Jackson (Source)

Wood carvings of the Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer from the portal of Hylestad stave church, Setesdal, Norway, 12th century

Sigurd slays Fafnir the dragon
The third scene shows Sigurd slaying the dragon with a sword. After forging the sword, Sigurd and Regin travel to Gnita-Heath in order to find Fafnir the dragon and take his treasure. There they dig “a pit in the path used by Fafnir,” and then he crawled into it. When Fafnir came to the pit Sigurd emerged and “thrust his sword” into Fafnir, killing him.

Persephone - Queen of the Underworld

Persephone was the daughter of Demeter (fertility goddess of the earth) and later queen of the underworld in Greek mythology. She was so beautiful that her mother attempted to keep her hidden from the eyes of gods and men. However, while picking flowers, Persephone caught the eye of Hades, god of the Underworld.

Hades abducted Persephone and brought her to the Underworld. Demeter searched the earth for her lost daughter but could find no trace of her and began starving the earth so the other gods would do something to help her. Word quickly traveled to Zeus that Hades was holding Persephone (or in some versions, Zeus already knew and had aided Hades in the kidnapping) and he demanded the goddess be returned to her mother.

Not wanting to part from his new queen, Hades tricked Persephone into eating Pomegranate seeds, which caused her to be bound to the underworld. Persephone was allowed to return to her mother for half of each year, but would always have to return to Hades.

Demeter starves the earth during the part of the year while she mourns her daughter, causing the annual changing seasons. 

Image: The Rape of Persephone by Christoph Schwartz 

Notes: Persephone was requested by wretchedsilence

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