Company:Collisions, Medea

Review in Issue 16-1 | Spring 2004

A compelling exercise in refined simplicity, Company:Collisions’ Medeal (directed by Tanushka Marah) is an accessible, intense, emotionally charged piece of theatre.

Euripides’ tale of a woman’s horrific revenge on the man who betrayed her is told with refreshing clarity through movement, song and text in English and Greek. The six-strong cast, stark in lush black against a bare white set, inhabit the stage in a shifting series of carefully constructed images. Drawing on Butoh, Graham and other movement practices the chorus combine precise choreography with haunting, beautiful song.

Strong, emotionally raw, Eastern European-style singing is perfectly in tune with the text, reflecting the conflicting emotions of Medea’s dilemma through dissonant harmonies and meditative rounds. The Greek words powerfully express unspeakable pain and grief as all meaning is carried in the emotive sound of the language that rolls richly from the actors’ tongues.

One of the ways the company bring out the humanity in this gory tragedy is through moments of humour during Medea and Jason’s confrontations. Her cutting sarcasm and his unbelievably insensitive understatement had the audience tittering with recognition.

Denise Evans’ extraordinary performance as Medea is both humane and chilling. The climax, where she wreaks her revenge on Jason by killing their children, is no less shocking by its inevitability. I shivered as she dashed her sons (two knotted sheets) onto the floor, her face distorting in horror. Jason shrivels defeated into a ball, echoing Medea’s cocooned state of agony at the beginning. Any doubts that she has ‘crushed his heart’ melt away as the final image is burnt onto your eyeballs, the chorus becoming twisted, tree-like, menacing, black silhouettes against a fading blue light.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-1
p. 28