November 2015. The theatre performance was a matinee on Saturday November 7th, a packed house saw a riveting 90 minutes in the semi-round, no proscenium arch.
There was almost no set, two leatherette bean bags were all that seemed to represent domestic comfort. The Almeida has a raised walkway across the stage and this, along with a trap door in the stage was used to good effect. The play by Euripides was given a modern update by Rachel Cusk and movingly directed by Rupert Goold.
“Medea’s marriage is breaking up. And so is everything else. Testing the limits of revenge and liberty, Euripides’ seminal play cuts to the heart of gender politics and asks what it means to be a woman and a wife”, from the official programme.
The production has had excellent reviews although some critics see the ending as a “misstep”. Certainly there is some confusion as to exactly what fate the couple’s two children have met. However this slight ambiguity only emphasises the joint enterprise of the parents in bringing horror onto their sons. The play explores marital breakdown, gender roles, the position of children in divorce.
As I am making a model theatre – initially a shadow theatre – as an MA project I was pleased to attend this performance, seeing live drama this good is always eye opening and I have long wished to see Medea.