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Q&A with Leads of the Fall Play, “Medea”

Photo by Grace Goldman

Get to know junior Margaret Veglahn and senior Luke Knopke, the leads of East’s latest production, “Medea,” and catch a glimpse into the plot of the modernized, mythical Greek play.

Q: What is your role in “Medea?”
A: Margaret: I’m Medea. Basically Medea is the Greek myth that comes after Jason and the Golden Fleece, and Medea was the kind of what that saved him, and then they ran off and got married and had kids. This is the story when he cheats on her and abandons her, so yeah I’m Medea in “Medea.”

A: Luke: I’m Jason, the kids’ father, [Medea’s] husband, and I’m kind of a mean person. What happened was I decided to marry this other girl while I was still married to her [Medea], and I pretty much abandon my kids and [Medea], which leads her to go crazy.

Q: How would you describe the play to someone who’s never heard of it?
A: Margaret: It’s like a modernized version of the original Greek myth, so it’s not just all old-timey and weird. Basically it’s still in the style of a Greek tragedy, which means there’s a greek chorus which is kind of weird for people who have never seen that before. A greek chorus is just a small group of people who kind of narrate the show, and are kind of in the show, and kind of not. For people who don’t understand that that’s definitely the hardest part of the show to get used to.

Q: How long have you guys known each other?
A: Luke: Three years, since [Margaret’s] freshman year. I’m a senior.

Q: What is it like working so closely as leads in Medea?
A:
Margaret:
Well we’ve worked together for sure before. We were duo partners in forensics [my] freshman year. We were married in that too so that was iconic. But we’ve definitely worked together a lot. So we did “Our Town”, the spring show, “Nooses Off”, and then “Curtains.”
Luke: Yeah, so we’ve done four or five shows together.

Q: How many people are in the cast?
A:
Luke:
12 I think.
Margaret: Yeah it’s pretty small.

Q: How is the preparation and logistics of a play different from that of a musical?
A:
Luke:
So in a play you don’t have to learn music or choreography which makes it go by a lot faster. It’s much more emotion-based, feeling-based, work-based.
Margaret: It’s a lot more character study and working on relationships and stuff like that, rather than ‘When do we do a grape vine?’

Q: What has the preparation been like for “Medea?”
A: Margaret:
A lot of it has been memorization, especially for the two of us, because the show is an hour and a half and a solid hour of it is just us talking. It’s a lot of repetition [and] a lot of character study. So the show…moves pretty quick and the script’s only ike 40 pages. But the rehearsal process has been very, ‘run the scenes, run the scenes,’ but there’s a lot of going back and working on character and motivation, and stuff like that. So it’s been a nice process, it’s been kind of laid back, and we have a lot of freedom in what we do which is pretty nice.

Q: How long have you been preparing?
A:

Margaret: Like a month-ish, it was the very end of September.

Q: What has your rehearsal schedule been like?
A:
Luke:
Pretty much every day after school.
Margaret: Yeah for like an hour and a half or so.
Luke: It varies. Like tonight we’re going until 8 or 9 p.m., but usually we go until 5 p.m.

Q: What is it like spending this much time with a 12-person cast?
A:
Margaret:
It’s been kind of nice to have a cast this small.
Luke: Yeah it’s really nice to have a cast this small, there’s not a lot of drama like the musical. We all know each other [and] we’re all close.

Q: What do you like about this play and production overall?
A:
Margaret:
I think it’s been a very good challenge for me. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed about it — it’s been a lot, because I literally don’t leave the stage. Every day it’s so much energy, it’s so much emotion — I literally cry for half of the show. But that’s been kind of fun. It’s been a challenge for sure, but it’s been interesting, and I can just see the ways it’s been affecting my life, which is kind of weird. But it’s definitely been something that’s been so intense and in-my-head for a month that it’s kind of everywhere now.

Luke: Yeah it’s definitely the most most out-of-body experience every single time we’re performing, like the most I’ve been in a show I think. It’s so away from my own personal life.

Margaret: Yeah like the other night, I’m just so disconnected from myself for an hour and a half [so] my arms [were] covered in [fake] blood, and when I got off stage after the very end…This big light came on and hit me and it was literally like waking up from a dream, because I was so disconnected from myself for an hour and a half that I just panicked for a minuted and was like, ‘Wait why is there blood on my hands,’ and I didn’t know where I was. So it’s definitely been a really weird experience, but in a cool way I guess.

Q: As far as showtimes, when is the show?
A:
Luke:
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 [p.m.].
Margaret: And it’s free with a Shawnee Mission East student ID.

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