Playwriting by Sophie Fastaia

A few weeks into our playwriting unit, our artist in residence, Ella Boureau, assigned a play called Medea, by Euripides. The play tells the story of Medea, the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis. Medea is left by her husband Jason who marries the king’s daughter, Glauce. Medea pleads and begs to stay in Corinth with her sons, but is exiled from Corinth, Greece by Creon the king out of fear of Medea’s revenge. Out of jealousy, anger, and hatred towards Jason, she uses witchcraft, poison, and a sword to kill. She murders their two children, Creon, and Glauce, his new wife, to make Jason grieve. She wants Jason to be left with nothing, even if she has to live with the agony that she has murdered her dear children. 

After we had read the play and analyzed it thoroughly, Ella told us that we were going to have a performance called “Drag Medea.” We were expected to dress up in any type of drag: feminine, masculine, or a mixture of both. Ella wanted us to portray the passionate, agonizing role of Medea and become unhinged, capturing the anger, heartbreak, an emotion that Medea had felt in the play. It took me a few days to choose a song, as I was anxious about lip syncing in front of everyone. Aria, my fellow creative writer and I, chose to perform “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn. We had very few days to practice; I had no idea what to expect, what to choreograph, or who was to play each role. The next night, I was rummaging through my closet, when I came across a gray baseball cap. An idea popped into my head as I tried the cap on; I should become Jason, the douchebag husband of Medea.  

On the day of the performance, I came to school with a heavy bag full of makeup, a men’s flannel shirt, and a black vest. Everyone was dressed in costume: Oona in a cheerleader outfit and heels, Hazel in a blond wig and emerald cloak, Ella in a tophat and drawn on mustache, Parker in a lovely blue dress and lipstick, and me… in an extremely baggy men’s dress shirt and a cap that had “Jason” taped to the front. Ella rushed everyone outside as we sat in a circle of chairs; the show had begun. Hazel and Ester came through the door, lip syncing with confidence and pacing around each other like cats in a fight. Excitement and adrenaline rushed through me as I clapped and cheered. I was glad that the first act was done, giving me an idea of how the show was going to go. People lip synced to their songs that blasted out of the loudspeaker on the deck, one song ending, another beginning. 

My breath refused to slow down as my name was called out. Aria and I went up front, amongst the row of eyes staring at us. When the music started to play, I became Jason, lip syncing with all the emotion that I had, falling on my knees in exaggeration. I collapsed on the floor when Aria stabbed me with a foam sword, pretending to be murdered. The song started to die down and was followed by applause and many smiles. I felt relieved that the song was over and proud that I was able to go up in front of my department and perform in drag. I realized that I was capable of going outside of my comfort zone and enjoying performing, even though I thought that I could never do such a thing.

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