Review: A Mexican Medea Heads to New York in ‘Mojada’

Review: A Mexican Medea Heads to New York in ‘Mojada’

In each case, he has tailored the archetypal tale of an abandoned lover’s grisly vengeance to suit the city in which it is performed. Thus “Mojada” takes place amid a gentrifying Corona, invaded by New York hipsters in search of available real estate.

Not that its central character knows anything about this fast-changing neighborhood, other than what she hears from the few people she ever talks to. The most inspired notion of “Mojada” is that this 21st-century Medea, wrenched from the only home she ever knew, is now incapable of inhabiting the wider world. She’s a woman without a country, destined to live in limbo.

Directed by Chay Yew, Mr. Alfaro’s frequent collaborator, “Mojada” finds surprising vitality within the stasis of its doomed heroine’s existence. Medea, a gifted seamstress who does cash-only contract work making exquisite clothes for a pittance, may never leave her tiny, self-contained realm of exile. (Arnulfo Maldonado’s lovingly detailed backyard set — lighted by David Weiner, with sound by Mikhail Fiksel — suggests a snug urban microcosm on the edge of chaos.)

But the world nonetheless comes to her, in a vibrant rush of gossip and anecdotes. The news bearers include Medea’s lover, Jason (Alex Hernandez, handsome enough to kill for), their young son, Acan (Benjamin Luis McCracken); and, most entertainingly, her longtime family servant, Tita (the enjoyably earthy Socorro Santiago), and a buoyant street cart vendor, Luisa (Vanessa Aspillaga, in a scene-stealing performance), who goes by her “hipster name” Lulu.

“Mojada,” which roughly translates to a derogatory term for Mexican immigrants, features long and all-too-topical monologues in which Medea describes her harrowing journey from Mexico. And its plot follows, almost to a fault, the bloody, fatalistic story laid down by Euripides in his “Medea,” from the fifth century B.C.

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