Simon Stone made a radical adaptation of Euripides’s Greek tragedy 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.
The duration is 80 minutes, no intermission
Dutch with English surtitles
About the play
Perhaps there is no woman from Ancient Greece who speaks more to the imagination than Medea. 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 has to make place 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.
‘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
Simon Stone about Medea
'The story of Medea is timeless. When a couple separate, one
partner’s desire to hurt the other can go so far that they destroy the
very thing they hold most dear: their children. In Medea, a
woman takes the lives of her own sons. What would drive someone to such a
deed? Is it the realization that everything she once meant to her
husband is no more: that he has ‘traded her in for a younger model’? Medea was once Jason’s muse, the woman who seduced and enchanted him. Now that she is older
and no longer fertile, he abandons her. She has no part in his plans
and ambitions. He shuns her and takes away her very purpose in life. She
has reached the end of her tether. She refuses to give up her children
and is prepared to take the most drastic action. Does she want to hurt
him? Is she seeking revenge for his treachery, or are her actions a
manifestation of her devotion? Perhaps she is simply mad. Medea is about the power of a woman who once again experiences the exclusion she once felt in a dim and distant past.'
Although only thirty, the Australian actor, director and writer Simon Stone is one of the most acclaimed theatre-makers on the international circuit.