Australian director Simon Stone made a radical adaptation of Euripides’s Greek tragedy Medea about the daughter of the king, who is replaced with a younger woman by her husband and kills her children out of revenge. He turned it into a contemporary story. He let himself be inspired by the true story of an American doctor who set fire to her own house after a difficult divorce in 1995, killing two of her children. The existential questions from the ancient tragedy are shown in the context of a contemporary reality.
Duration 80 minutes, no intermission
Language Dutch, with English surtitles on Thursdays
About the play
Medea. Everybody knows her. And in a way, everyone can relate to her. Every age has its own view on the myth about the daughter of the king who, out of love for Jason, leaves her own country for good and follows him to Greece. She gives him two children, but after a few years she is set aside by Jason for another, younger daughter of a king. Medea does an unimaginable thing: she doesn’t just kill Jason’s new bride, but also her own children.
For his first directing job at ITA, Simon Stone mixed the tragedy by Euripides with the true story of a child murderer in the US in the 1990s. The result is gripping. The inalienable and inconceivable core of an old myth is swirling and fermenting beneath the surface of a recognizable contemporary story. Medea is called Anna in this version, a successful doctor who is trying to get on with her life after a forced confinement. She is willing to forgive the affair of her husband with a younger woman and to make a new start with him and the children. Soon it turns out that their plans for the future do not correspond. Anna is in danger of losing everything: her husband, her children, her career. She is cornered and sees only one way out.
Marieke Heebink won the Theo d’Or 2015 for her portrayal of the main character.
The press about Medea
‘Letting his actors improvise is one of the ways in which Stone has created a performance that is very contemporary, but fortunately does not let go of the universal power of Euripides’s Medea. It is not just the adultery of her husband, but the way in which she is side-lined, that drives Anna to her actions.’ - Trouw ****
‘Heebink constructs her role beautifully, from pretending to be naive and hopeful, through despair to a dark frenzy. The result: a monumental, ruthless portrait of a confused woman.’ - De Volkskrant ***
'Espace épuré, acteurs magistraux (...) la comédienne Marieke
Heebink est géniale dans les ruptures de ton et dans la manière de
laisser filer la violence' - Libération
'Les enfants sont remarquables, qui instillent une légèreté, un humour qui délivrent des violences adultes. Eva Heijnen, Jip Smit, Bart Slegers, Fred Goessens sont d'une sobriéte, d'une densité impressionnantes. Mais c'est le duel des cerveaux et des corps de Aus Greidanus jr. et la fabuleuse Marieke Heebink qui saisit. La haine attise l ámour, la passion sexuelle décuple le désir de mort. C'est atrocement quotidien et épuvantablement mythique.' - Le Figaro
'Mais, ce qui domine tout, c’est elle: Medea - Anna, telle que la joue Marieke Heebink. Impossible de la lâcher des yeux. A cause des siens, d’abord, qui semblent trouer l’espace comme un puits sans fond, et passent de l’éclat d’espoir au désespoir définitif. A cause de son corps, ensuite, affiché et nié comme le souvenir du désir et de l’enfantement. A cause de sa présence, enfin, qui unit ce corps et ces yeux dans la laideur de la rage et la beauté de la vie, quoi qu’il en coûte. Parce qu’elle incarne sans férir et sans coquetterie d’actrice cet ultime élan d’une femme au bord du gouffre, Marieke Heebink est une actrice et une Médée magnifiques.' - Le Monde