Saturday 16 August 2014

Where did Medea Bury her Children?

Be afraid, Jason.
Helen McCrory sizzles at the National Theatre in Euripides’ Medea. This tiny actress grabs the text, the stage and the audience by the jugular and doesn’t let go until they are emotionally exhausted. When she drags the bags containing her small sons’ cadavers from the stage, the forest quivers and there is a suggestion of an earthquake. Hair-raising.*

Not at the National
All the reviewers have commented on the absence of Medea’s flying chariot of the Sun. But none has asked the far more important question: where is she taking them? What does a Bronze Age divorcee from Georgia want to be the last resting place of her beloved children? 

Medea's flight path in white box
I can answer this question, having read the Greek text, and just yesterday visited the site of their graves. It is the temple of Hera near Perachora just across the Gulf of Corinth. This is 90 minutes’ drive from Medea’s house in the Corinthian suburbs, but probably only ten minutes in a flying machine of which the sole previous owner was divine. For an aviator it is en route to Athens—Medea’s final destination.

The land route just takes too long..
Hera, Queen of Heaven
The temple of Hera had two elaborate storeys, a stunning marble floor, and was crammed with votive objects dedicated by both men and women who wanted healthy children. It is located in one of the most beautiful bays in the Mediterranean, lapped by turquoise waters and fringed with pine and cedar trees. The ancient Greeks had no problems in praying to the very children who had been murdered by their mother for the health of their own progeny: UNITY OF OPPOSITES.

If you can’t get to London for this remarkable production, directed by Carrie Cracknell, you can go to your local Cineworld and enjoy it being relayed live on 4th September 2014. Popcorn may not seem appropriate to an infanticide story, but these days you can get gin and tonic--also enjoyed by McCrory's Medea--at the movies too.
*I'm pleased to be discussing whether Medea was Mad or just Bad at the National on Tuesday 19th with Professor Femi Oyebodi

1 comment:

  1. I studied Medea with Emma Bridges but I have never actually seen it performed in full, so I look forward to being able to see this at the Showroom in Nottingham, which is luckily just around the corner from my house.