“Butoh Medea” – East Meets West in Madness

By Ernest Kearney  —  It is regrettable that more audiences didn’t have the opportunity of seeing Butoh Medea, an adaptation of Euripides’ harrowing Greek classic of a mother who, due to the betrayal and infidelities of her husband, was driven to slaughter her children.


Written by Sean Michael Welch and directed by Brian Rhinehart this staging has a distinctive modern feel; with Medea (Yokko) emerging from the darkness to the chatter of a busy mall.  It is from there that Medea endures the gauntlet of blows against her as a woman and as a foreigner as she staggers to the play’s horrific conclusion.


Performing Artist, Yokko (HFF18)

The lesson is as true today as it was in Euripides’ time: It is a society’s injustice that creates the monsters that destroy it.


Platinum MedalChoreographed by Jordan Rosin and Yokko, the show employed the Butoh style to show us in the most intimate fashion the descent of a frightened woman into a creature capable of the most monstrous of acts, and to make her pain our own.


Yokko’s performance was nothing short of spellbinding.


Superbly served by Derek Van Heel’s lighting and the sound score by Ren Gyo Soh.




♦      ♦      ♦


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To learn more about Butoh Medea go to: www.butohmedea.com/

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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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