Review: ★★ The Medea Hypothesis, The Cockpit

Review: ★★ The Medea Hypothesis, The Cockpit

The Medea Hypothesis deals with the idea that mankind is having a detrimental effect on the planet, presenting a kind of existential anxiety that the characters experience while coming to terms with this. It centres around two separated parents and their 13-year-old son, who never appears onstage. The son does not want to live anymore after learning about global warming and climate change, and the play details how they deal with this.

The scenes are very disjointed, especially at the beginning, and the set changes are very long. They are often filled by audio or video clips of various aspects of climate change science or campaigning, all of a similar, apocalyptic tone. The actors are all very engaging on their own but the scenes where they are all together feel stilted and slightly unnatural, as though they are saying the lines but are not part of the same conversation.

The use of technology is very interesting in this piece, they use projections of news reports and scientific analysis on a screen at the back of the stage. Sometimes these clips work in conjunction with what is happening onstage, sometimes in contrast. The most interesting video is the story of the Elemental Gods, which plays in the background of a monologue. It uses chemical symbols and images made out of letters and keyboard symbols to illustrate the story being told, almost in the style of a fairytale or folk story.

The Medea Hypothesis has very little variation in its mood. There are some funny lines but the tone is so hard to gauge that the audience doesn’t manage to catch the humour before the dialogue moves on. This leaves the performance feeling very intense and overwhelming with no relief from the idea that we are all causing irreparable harm simply by being alive. It’s possible that provoking this feeling of hopelessness in the audience is the aim of the piece but that does not necessarily make it an enjoyable theatre experience.

 

Emma Grimsley

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