Greek tragedy comes to OCCC

The instructor handed out masks to the students auditioning and told them to prepare for some exercises while she gathered her notes.

“In masks, the body becomes a form of expression. I need you to show me what you are saying,” she said to the students while they put on the masks, listening.

Tragic theatre is making its way to the Oklahoma City Community College in the form of  the Greek play Medea, premiering next March at the Bruce Owen Theatre.

Auditions were spearheaded by Theatre Director and Adjunct Professor Rachel Irick who hosted two nights filled with students who prepared for the next big theatre production.

Madea is a Greek tragedy centered around the woman of the same name and her vendetta against her unfaithful husband Jason. Her actions and the scenes that follow are violent and harrowing.

“This is my sixth show directing here at the college. I’m excited to see what I get to do with this big dramatic piece,” Irick said.

“Feel every small movement. Make sure you have full control,” she said.

Irick called out specific emotions for the students to portray only using their bodies. From “Despair” to “Longing”, it only took a few tries for the students to adapt.

After a few rounds, Irick fed the group lines from the play for the students to recite using the dramatic expressions they have performed. Lines of lament and grief echoed within the green room.

As they spoke and pleaded to the goddess Artemis, the students stood facing the wall of mirrors so they could study how they performed.

Film student Rahul Chakraborty said he felt comfortable being expressive and using his body as a form of communication. “I use it in this manner all the time. I make films, so I understand what it takes to get your point across using expressive motion,” he said.

“It’s like I’m not really there,” Chakraborty said. He found it easier to perform the grand gestures and dramatic lines in the mask.

Irick called for only the men for the last portion of the audition.

“I will feed you lines and you will perform,” she said.

The two male students  portrayed Jason, the unfaithful husband, shocked and furious at his tragic fate.

“I bore you sons, daughters!” they yelled, demonstrating their rage with broad movements of their bodies. .
“Very good,” Irick said with a smile.

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