Medea is an ancient tale retold on Hull Truck’s stage

Published: Tuesday 24th October 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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Jean René Lemoine’s acclaimed reinterpretation of the blood-soaked Medea, Written in Rage comes to Hull Truck Theatre.

Medea was originally an ancient Greek tragedy, written by playwright Euripides in 431 BC. It was closely based on a myth that followed the shocking story of Medea, a former princess of the kingdom of Colchis and wife of Jason.

As Jason leaves her for the Greek princess of Corinth, Medea finds herself and her position in the Greek world threatened. She takes action by killing her former husband’s wife as well as her own kin, and then escapes to Athens.

Lemoine has reimagined this story to explore themes of marginalisation, isolation and exile in a contemporary setting. Medea is now a genderless, stateless figure who is violently transgressive.

The character is an ultimate outsider, an alien in a foreign land and, of course, filled with rage by this. Playwright Lemoine is of Afro-French origin, born in Haiti and draws upon the modern-day struggles of not belonging in one’s own country.

The opera, which has already received a lot of attention in France, is underscored by tragedy, sexual confession and passion. Medea has been brought to life by François Testory, an acclaimed performer, dancer and vocalist.

“The character of Medea is as relevant now as she was at the time of the play’s creation,” explains Testory. “The barbarian princess reminded the ancient Greeks (who invented democracy) that barbarism and chaos were never too far away and still a part of their world.”

The artist brings a distinctive androgynous energy to the character of Medea. Previously, Testory has collaborated with some of the continent’s most respected companies, including Gecko, Punch Drunk, DV8, Lindsay Kemp and Rambert Dance Company.

“Lemoine’s version of the piece keeps a clear link with the ancient Greek and seventeenth-century French tragedy. This is what makes the text so fascinating: the archaism and its modernity,” Testory adds.

Director Neil Bartlett, who is celebrated throughout the UK, has translated and directed the entire performance. He has combined his vast experience and knowledge in classical drama and the queer solo performance genre to craft this beautifully powerful show.

To add to the incredible experience, the production is appearing at more intimate venues across Britain, with Hull Truck being one of the choices for the north. Diverse audiences from around the country will be encouraged to engage and think about some of the issues during the piece.

Overall, the performance is set to be breathtaking and it will be outstanding to see such a prestigious and historic tale retold on a stage in Hull.

Medea, Written in Rage runs at Hull Truck Theatre from Tuesday 24 until Wednesday 25 October. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 01482 323638, or you can book online.

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Published: Tuesday 24th October 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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