The 38th Annual Classical Greek Theatre Festival
Directed by Sandra Shotwell
"Where our hearts are, there most danger lies." When Medea's love for her husband turns to hate, her fury knows no bounds. Driven by the complex character of its heroine, the plot follows Medea's decision for and plotting of revenge against her husband, Jason. Medea is at once woman, barbarian, witch, hero, and "other" as well as Greek and a symbol of Athens. Motivated by rage, honor, pride, and maternal love, Medea proves a stunning example of the "divided woman." Her rational and emotional monologues probe the challenges of being wife, mother, and human. No gods meddle with this tragic action, and the audience remains riveted on the powerful forces at work within Medea and on the fate of her children, who wander silently on and off the stage.
What is unique about Medea?
-It has an unusual opening by an old nurse, not a god or hero; a barbarian, not a Greek; and a slave woman, not a male tyrant or aristocrat. Like Shakespeare's Othello, the play is intensely domestic and deals with the destruction of a family.
-The play has an unique hero, Medea, who is feminine and barbarian. She is subversive and transgresses many Greek boundaries, and appropriates many of the characteristics of the Greek male hero of epic and earlier tragedy.
-The play has an odd ending, with Medea triumphant and no retribution or payback for her horrific acts of revenge.
Why see Medea?
-Because of its unusual heroine. Like a prism, Medea exhibits several sides. Like a consummate actress, she plays several roles to manipulate her audience.
-Because of its spectacular chorus of Corinthian women. They entertain us with their song, poetry and dance, but also provide commentary and perspective on the action, and who act as a hinge between scenes and speakers.
-Because of the way in which it discusses and challenges the regime values of the ancient Greeks.
-Because it raises questions of identity, and who we are in terms of gender, family, state and culture.
Photos by Scott Peterson