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Richmond playwright brings Medusa’s story to Fringe Festival

Someone’s value or worth should not be depicted by their appearance, says Richmond playwright.
Medusa the musical will be showing at the Vancouver Fringe in September. John Prowse photo

Even an infamous snake-headed monster had a story to tell before she was cursed, and an award-winning theatre company based in Richmond is ready to unveil the tale.

Direct Theatre Collective (DTC) is presenting a musical titled "Monster" to tell the story of Medusa when she was still a mortal.

Jill Raymond, playwright and co-founder of DTC, partnered with musician and composer Florence Reiher to create the musical, which will be performed at Revue Stage during the Vancouver Fringe Festival from Sept. 8 to 17.

Like many, Raymond knew Medusa as a snake-headed beast who turned men into stone for fun and eventually was killed because of her actions.

“When I heard more and the more I looked into her beginnings and her life before she was cursed into being this monster, I thought this was a story that not many people knew about and needed to be told,” said Raymond.

“There are parallels between victims being punished in modern times and (Medusa) being punished for having something happen to her when she was with Poseidon, which was beyond her control.”

The one-hour musical, with 15 original songs, retells her mortal life and “gives Medusa a voice in her own narrative.”

“Her life was very much dictated by other people and we wanted to give her voice in her own narrative essentially,” explained Raymond.

She said the main message she wants people to remember, while cliche, is to never judge a book by its cover.

“People’s appearances can really be deceiving and someone’s value, worth or status should not be determined by their appearance.”