Waiting on Medea
photo: Richard Termine

Euripides' Medea was first performed in 431 B.C. and one can assume that since then, no production of the Greek tragedy has featured its heroine taking out her marital aggression on a Sony PlayStation. In Sung Rno's wAve, the embittered Medea (now a Korean American homemaker named M) is playing a rated-Mature slasher with her teenage son. "Dad sucks at this game," Junior says. "Yeah," replies M, hammering the console. "Dad sucks."

wAve transplants the classic drama of husbandly desertion to a not so inconceivable United States where firearms are rampant, Hollywood rules, and tech innovation has supplanted human creativity. For the play's Asian American characters, life has become a media echo chamber of yellow-face insults, apotheosized by a cloying TV smash called Chinky & Gooky.

The play's title refers to the quantum mechanics concept that light exhibits the properties of both a wave and a particle. As a metaphor for the duality of Asian American existence, it feels clumsily didactic. What ultimately saves wAve from drowning is Michi Barall's ferocious performance. A Stepford wife on the verge of rebellious sentience, her Medea fights valiantly to stay afloat in a world where the most comforting sound is the chime of a Windows XP system signing off.


By Sung Rno
Ohio Theater
66 Wooster Street

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