Collateral Damage: The Tragedy of Medea


80 pages
ISBN 0-88974-042-9
DDC C812'.54




Reviewed by Cecily M. Barrie

Cecily M. Barrie is a graduate drama student at Mount St. Vincent
University in Halifax.


This play is a dark parody of the myths about male/female roles and
relationships; it is the old story of the war of the sexes, with a focus
on the hardships women have endured over time at the hands of the
socio-political establishment.

Crossland has included such classical tragedy features as the chorus,
which functions as both guide to and voice of many contemporary
philosophical attitudes shared by the audience. She has also departed
from the original (Euripides), which provokes the audience to respond
with fear and horror at Medea’s inevitable, sad fate. Apparently to
achieve this end, she drops the confrontation scenes between Medea and
Jason, a sorely missed plot feature.

Crossland also changes the narrative voice by introducing the “true
voice” of women, Cleo, a propagandist who understands the female
condition and tells us about it in colloquial and prickly language. This
narrative keeps the plot moving and provides most of the humor; Cleo
speaks in short, exclamatory sentences, using odd words, graphic images,
and sexual innuendo.

The author calls her play “any woman’s story”—the tragic
separation of a mother from her children through circumstances beyond
their control. The result of her reworking of Euripides, while
interesting, is not philosophical debate, but rather the mundane story
of a woman who shares her pain and misery with other women and waits for
the ideal place, far away from men—a land of dreams where women
“live like giants.”


Crossland, Jackie., “Collateral Damage: The Tragedy of Medea,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,