Behind every man is a woman with a story to tell, and this May that story is TESEO:MEDEA. Alaina Logee returns to CantantiPROJECT as Medea in a production that has women center stage and ready to shine.
Get to know Alaina in the interview below.
Music by Handel, libretto by Haym
May 11th @ 7:00pm
May 12th @ 3:30pm
Underground Theater at the Abrons Art Center
466 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
Part of the @Abrons Series Program and the 2019 New York Opera Fest.
Please introduce yourself: your name, where you’re from, what role you’re singing, and the first three things that come to mind when you think “Handel”.
Hi, I’m Alaina playing Medea Player 1. I’m from Paris, Texas and when I hear “Handel”, the first three things I think are “as in... of whiskey?”, “elegance personified”, and “dear god if that soprano doesn’t shut up...”
Something Paris, TX and Paris, France have in common?
The city of Paris, France gifted her namesake in Texas with a beautiful fountain that now graces the town square. Also, Paris Texas has a rather large replica of the Eiffel Tower: it, however, has a giant red cowboy hat on top that lights up at night.
Best whiskey recommendation?
You know, I’m not really a whiskey or liquor drinker in general. I guess you can’t go wrong with Jameson?
Our production of TESEO:MEDEA emphasizes the fact that women play very important roles in this opera. How has this influenced your character’s trajectory in the plot?
I love the women of this cast and the various degrees of “power” they portray and share with one another. For me, Medea’s power is intimidation and scheming, which is just SO much fun and much easier for a giant Amazonian like myself to tap into than other female characters, who have a quiet resolve and steadfast love, which ultimately triumphs.
How does Medea's use of intimidation and scheming in this TESEO:MEDEA connect to her past (the part of her story that isn't mentioned in this opera)?
I’m not sure how much intimidation and wily scheming she was accustomed to using before this story. I think maybe those were learned qualities after spending so much time in court and among these very intelligent and sophisticated Romans. Perhaps killing her children for a man was sort of her tipping point that changed her iOS.
Medea's reputation is built mainly on some of the worst decisions she had to make in her life. What are some of her redeeming or relatable qualities?
Yes, Medea makes some epically bad decisions, and is pretty evil, BUT: she’s a barbarian. She views the world differently, she views love differently. One of her most interesting lines is “love is strongest when changed to fury.” What?! I mean, to a warrior in a kill-or-be-killed society, that kind of makes sense. It’s in her nature to be this way. It’s hard to be mad at a dog for chasing chickens, amirite?! She does feel remorse for the loss of her brother and children and also feels reticence to kill Teseo. Luke Skywalker would have seen the good in her, even if she had no place in his world.
If Medea could have a theme song, what would it be?
Medea’s go to to battle/training montage theme song is probably a mashup of The Eagles’ “Witchy Woman” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made while preparing for TESEO:MEDEA?
This has been a process full of self discovery for me. Mostly I’m learning that I have a lot to learn and a lot to polish in my personal performance practice. But as for the character Medea, I think I’m finding it difficult to pace the rage. “ALL RAGE ALL THE TIME!” was the theme when I first began, but now that Laura (Medea Player 2) and Brenda (Director/Gesture Puppeteer) ((that’s a joke that hopefully Brenda will get)) have spent some time in conversation, we’ve found that there’s so many degrees of rage and conflicting emotions in her character. That discovery makes it all the more challenging and exciting!
And if you could have a mythological superpower, what would it be?
Mythological super power? As in one of the gods’ powers or just like in general??? I’m gonna go with gods because we in Greece. I think controlling weather and riding around in clouds tossing lightning bolts sounds pretty rad. So, Zeus is my go-to for the powers.
One of the goals of this project is to showcase women in the arts - we have an all-female cast and a majority-female production team. What has this experience been like for you so far?
It’s been amazing and so not stereotypical, as in always at each others throats, or back stabbing, or periods syncing up, or any of that bullshit. Mostly my experience has been discovering that we all feel a certain amount of fear and lacking, which inspires every other lady in the room to be supportive and encouraging in their own weird and special way. I really like these gals.
(Don’t be so quick to write off the syncing, we still have a few weeks together….)
We hope TESEO:MEDEA inspires other female/female-identifying artists and audience members. What do you hope they’ll take away after seeing this production?
That seeing real love, the way Teseo (Rachel and Emily, both) has with Agilea (Joyce); the way they look at each other as actors is so damn beautiful that the thought, “hey, they’re both girls” never enters the mind of any audience member. It’s art and it’s beautiful but also it’s just love.