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The Medea Hypothesis 

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through June 23 2013
Price: $15-$28

Attempt to adapt a Greek tragedy to the context of contemporary Manhattan, and it should hardly come as a surprise when the result turns out to be dynamite soap opera -- though of a decidedly daytime variety. In Marian Berges' The Medea Hypothesis, now at Central Works (Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave.), Euripides' famously infanticidal character takes the form of Em, a busy executive who ranks perhaps a little short of Mom of the Year. Abandoned by her husband for a younger woman and attached to an ominously monotone, trigger-happy assistant, Em finds her thoughts becoming murderous with baffling speed -- but not before a tryst with a hunky plumber and a series of bizarre, improbable, and often philosophical video-chat dates with her ex's father-in-law-to-be, a shady Eastern European businessman named Carl. Running through this pulpy melodrama is a poignant strain about a mother losing her sanity while perhaps regaining her compassion. Mostly it's a mess, though, and a first-rate one at that.

— Alex Bigman

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