Theatre in Ithaca

I just finished Medea, a Greek tragedy written by Euripides. The version I read was an abridged one, translated by Robin Robertson. The play centers around the circumstances that lead the protagonist, Medea, to kill her husband’s mistress and her own children as punishment of her husband’s infidelity. Although sounds heartless, as the play develops the reader gets the sense that it is Medea who will be the one to suffer the most, and she acknowledges this: “Ah, the pain of it! The pain of what I know the future holds/and I must hide. Oh, children!” (50). 

Reading plays is unique because the reader must rely on the dialogue-centered narration to put together the pieces. To see plays acted on stage is a different story, as the action becomes much more life-like and creative. Having finished Medea, I felt in the mood to see a play acted on stage. The last time I went to a performance, I went to The Kitchen Theater, a theater located in downtown Ithaca. I’ve seen a few performances here and am always struck by the company’s ability to construct such creative performances in a relatively small place. The acting at these performances has always been excellent, and the creativity and the abstraction that the space demands is fun to witness. The warm and welcoming feeling that the theater cultivates make it feel homey despite the obvious quality of the often times award-winning plays that are shown.

Another option for seeing plays in Ithaca is The Hangar Theater, which is a bigger venue located a little outside of town. One unique offering of this theater is its “Kiddstuff” performances, which enacts theater based on children’s books. I saw Pinnochio here in the summer, and was aware that although these performances are geared towards younger audiences, I was surely just as entertained as the kids. Another draw of the theater is that it offers a “Pay What You Can” program the first Saturday matinee performance of mainstage productions, and the Saturday noon performance of “Kiddstuff” performances. This is a welcome reprieve, as theater can be an expensive treat.


Story and photo By Kathleen Malnati