The Medea Effect
Written by Suzie Bastien, Translated by Nadine Desrochers, Directed by Emma Tibaldo
Tuesday, February 3 – Saturday, February 7, 2015 – 4 shows only!
Please click to see an excerpt from the original production: The Medea Effect
“I’m scared of Medea, of what she will teach me.” - Ugo
Montreal, January 2015- Talisman Theatre and Conseil de Montréal en Tournéepresent Talisman Theatre’s production of The Medea Effect, written by Quebecoise playwright Suzie Bastien and translated for Talisman Theatre by Nadine Desrochers,playing at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts for four shows only from Feb. 3-7. Directed by Emma Tibaldo, the gifted cast stars James Loye as Ugo and Jennifer Morehouse as Ada in this powerful piece stabbed with humour. Desrochers has risen to the challenge of the text, “The work is built like a delicate score where scenes of controlled behaviour bring us moments of brief respite as emotions swell towards their unthinkable climax.” The original English-language premiere of The Medea Effect was produced by Talisman Theatre in 2012 to great success. The production garnered Montreal English Theatre Awards (METAs) for Outstanding Actress and Outstanding Translation, as well as nominations for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Sound Design.
An actress, a director, a casting call for Euripides' Medea. Does she get the part? Perhaps, but this is incidental. In The Medea Effect, Ada is a mother who has abandoned her child in the midst of an emotional dementia. Ugo's greatest childhood fear has come to pass; he has been abandoned by his demented mother. What surprises us is the shock of recognizing ourselves in the mirrors of these interacting characters. A play about the role of Euripides' play in the lives of these two characters, The Medea Effect shimmers with sparks and flashes of profound insight penned over two thousand years ago but refracted and focused through a contemporary lens.
Director Emma Tibaldo has been obsessed with Medea for as long as she can remember, “She is a mysterious hero to me, not because she kills her children, but because she has the courage to accept the repercussions of this unimaginable act.” For Tibaldo, now more than ever, we need to see to each other; to really hear each other, “It is difficult, often frustrating and frightening, but to move forward, to change things, we have to listen, acknowledge the errors and attempt to go on with a renewed sense of possible understanding. That is at the heart of The Medea Effect- the effort to be fully heard and through this action find a way to persevere.”
The Medea Effect refers to Euripides' play but is a modern examination of the tragedy of trauma, emotional detachment and loss. Tibaldo would like audiences to understand that humanity is fragile, complex and often ugly, but that we are all capable of reaching out and showing great compassion. Moreover, Tibaldo questions today’s idea of empathy, “What does it mean to connect to someone else's pain? In a world where connecting is a simple click away, can we open ourselves to others and meet them as they are, imperfect and damaged?”
For Jennifer Morehouse, this beautiful play taught her how strong people can be, even when they don't realize it, “Working on The Medea Effect lifted me and held me up when many things were falling apart in my life. It's now been over two years and it continues to sustain me- this character has lived in me the whole time. Ada is funny and incredibly intelligent and unspeakably strong. I love her very much.” The play also deals with substance abuse that can develop due to a profound loss, a severing. She explains, “Many people stop being listened to while trying to pull themselves out of addiction. I love how the play faces this issue head on with dignity and meaning, with humour even, and without apology or rancour.” The idea of trust in the play is also a significant one for her, “I hope people see how it really is possible to trust and to let someone else boost you up when you really don't know if you are able to make it on your own.”
Actor James Loye is drawn to the classics, “Greek tragedy is always appealing to an actor because it calls for emotion in the extreme and the dramatic stakes are seldom higher." He is most taken with the play’s themes of love in all its complexity, abandonment, and most of all, forgiveness, “I would hope people consider it might sometimes be possible to forgive the unforgivable.”
“The Medea Effect is a play that haunts you for a long time. It is a story of human frailty and capability,” says Talisman Theatre’s Artistic Director Lyne Paquette. She continues, “Playwright Suzie Bastien captures the profound struggle of being. Jennifer Morehouse is magnificent on stage; James Loye is a thrilling actor. Together they create a world that will take your breath away.” This is the perfect February outing, as reflected in the play; winter, when we are at our most vulnerable.
Talisman Theatre is renowned for its design-driven productions. For The Medea Effectdesigner Lyne Paquette has chosen simple stone slabs to recall the stage of Ancient Greek drama. She is working closely with the talented design team: Johnny Ranger, video design;Angeline St. Amour, lighting; Michael Leon, composer; Fruzsina Lanyi, costumes;Matthew Waddell, sound and Rasili Botz, movement. The stage manager is Sara Rodriguez.
The Medea Effect (4 shows only)
Talisman Theatre at Segal Centre for Performing Arts Studio, 5170 Cote St. Catherine Rd.
Feb. 3-7: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:00 pm
Box Office: 514 739-7944 Online: Tickets- Segal Centre website Tickets $18
Reviews and interviews: www.talisman-theatre.com/media.html
About Talisman Theatre (www.talisman-theatre.com for bios and information on all productions)
Talisman Theatre produces English-language premières of contemporary Québécois works, bringing the visceral intensity of Québécois theatrical practice to non-Francophones.