SRU Theatre Department opens season with ‘Medea in Methland’


Students performing on stage

From left, Haley Johnson, a freshman theatre major from Erie, portrays Medea, and Valerie Bowman, a freshman acting major from Connellsville, portrays Sarah, rehearse a scene from David Skeele’s “Medea In Methland.”

Oct. 10, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University Theatre will bring the spirit of revenge to its season-opening production, "Medea in Methland." Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 11-12 and 15-17 and 2 p.m. Oct. 13. All performances are in the University Union Multipurpose Room.

Written by David Skeele, SRU professor of theatre, "Medea in Methland" is inspired by the Greek tragedy, "Medea," by Euripides in 431 B.C. Skeele's update is a story of betrayal and revenge, set in an isolated holler in contemporary Appalachia, where meth lord Jason rules with an iron fist. When he tries to exile his wife, Medea, and replace her with the daughter of a mafia don, he ignites a vengeful fury that threatens the destruction of his entire world.

Skeele said that the production is a hybrid of a concert and play with a live band built into the performance. Musicians taking part in the performances are members of the western Pennsylvanian bluegrass band, Well Strung, known for its "traditional yet progressive bluegrass music."

Members of the band participating include:
● Jeff Scheller: bass, vocals, songwriter and emcee.
● Stephanie Franzen: violinist, fiddler, vocals and songwriter.
● Sam Stuckey: guitarist, vocals and songwriter.

"It's a unique collaborative effort between our talented theatrical performers and the band," said Skeele. "The combination will offer audiences an immersive, exciting experience in a drama of Greek proportions."

Skeele said that through this original adaptation, he hopes audiences will be able to fully explore and understand the controversies associated with Medea's world, from murder to the endless cycles of revenge that are a common theme in Greek tragedies.

Skeele said he enjoyed the freedom of diverting from Euripides' original plot points in creating his adaptation.

"Writing this new version was challenging, but one of the reasons I have really enjoyed creating my adaptation is having this archetypal skeleton of a plot that's almost so well known that feels like it's a part of our DNA," he said.

"There's something that just feels so elemental about these stories, but at the same time, because it's clearly an adaptation, I feel a great freedom to explore areas of the original story that weren't explored before. I think this version of 'Medea' is more sympathetic to the main character with some different angles included to explain who she is that the original didn't provide."

Student cast, artistic staff, crew and staff include:
● Haley Johnson, playing Medea, a freshman theatre major from Erie.
● Valerie Bowman, playing Sarah, a freshman acting major from Connellsville.
● Matt Gill, playing Jason, a graduate student from Mercer.
● Jacob Spencer, playing Creonelli, a freshman theatre major from Slippery Rock.
● Deven Runge, playing Deke, a freshman theatre major from Califon, New Jersey.
● Ben Shumway, playing George, a freshman theatre major from Slippery Rock.
● Tyler Klass, playing Farley, a junior psychology major from Irwin.
● Brianna Kutchko, playing Cassidy, a freshman theatre major from Valencia.
● Gordon Phetteplace, scenic designer and associate professor of theatre.
● Deb Cohen, lighting designer and graduate student from Slippery Rock.
● Steven Walter MacDonald, sound designer and senior theatre major from Pittsburgh.
● Rachel Holfelder, properties designer and senior theatre major from New Wilmington.

Tickets are $14 for general admission and $12 for SRU students. A "Community Night" admission of $12 for all attendees is scheduled for the Oct. 12 performance.

Tickets can be purchased at the Smith Student Information Desk, by calling 724.738.4926, online by clicking here or by visiting the University Union Box Office.

Tickets will be available at the University Union Box Office one hour prior to showtime.

This production is recommended for mature audiences only.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lesa Bressanelli | 724.738.2091 |