Euripides’ Medea, a tragedy that combines moral complexity with overwhelming emotional impact, is presented by Spectrum Theatre, a Hungarian theatre company based in Transylvania, Romania. In this superb tragedy, which deals with the last act of the passionate affair between Jason and Medea, Jason decides to leave his wife in order to marry the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. Medea takes the cruelest revenge: she kills their two children. With a minimal scenography, the director Viola Török focuses, through speech, on the inner world of the dramatic persons, highlighting their soul. The use of music, inspired by traditional Hungarian folk songs, aims to combine the old with the contemporary, the diachronic values of morality, justice and Medea’s fight for revenge in a deceiving, unfair and cruel world.
With Greek and English surtitles
“Backward flow streams of holy rivers and justice
and all things are being turned back.
For men’s counsels are deceitful, and the pledge taken
in the gods’ name is no longer firmly fixed.”
The much-debated story of Medea is the all-time tragedy of the woman, who has no choice, but to fight for justice in the deceiving, unfair and harsh world. Medea’s loneliness is enhanced by her solitude, state of outlander, the rootlessness with which a person who flees her homeland has to deal with.
The story of Medea is the tragedy of the woman who takes responsibility in raising her children, who – after being lovelorn and disappointed first in her partner, the love of her life –, is then disappointed in the worldly authorities and the carelessness of the people. She makes the heart-breaking choice to take the life of her sons rather than leaving them in the hands of the enemy, in this malignant and untruthful world.
Medea is the tragic heroine who turns against not only with the authorities that try to diminish her, but within herself, with her own frets and fumes, her emotions, her destiny, with the divine impulses in order to better understand why her life turned out the way it did. She seeks justice and swears on revenge, but in her self-reference she recognises some divine approval, especially after she can regard the new opportunity as a gift, the promise of a fresh start in Athens.
With this chance, Euripides allows the chance of the mysterious secret for Medea to disappear without a trace with her children who are believed to be dead – but whose bodies weren’t seen by anyone, not even their father. In the eyes of the world Medea remains the murderous monster – with the exception of some individuals, who can see further her actions and can relate to her battle of despair, and who can hope in the chance of a new life.
Despite its ancient origin, Medea is a play that is just as relevant in our modern world today as ever. The version of the play showed by the Spectrum Theatre, has as its focus mainly on the inner world of each character – the ever-beautiful soul of each persona that appears on stage.
To accentuate this focus, we used minimal scenography. Alongside with this concept the version of Medea directed by Viola Török is unique due to the musical parts that are inserted in the play. The music itself is specially composed and selected for this drama in question, having at its origin an inspiration from traditional Hungarian folk songs at its roots. The concept behind the music used in the drama has to do with marrying true values with seemingly old ones – on one hand Medea’s (seemingly) outdated values alongside with the seemingly old and forgotten local cultural heritage of the Transylvanian region. Just as Medea’s values, the music used in the play seems too “old-school” for the hip-chic modern world we live in today.
The questions that might flood one’s mind by meeting Medea could result in a weigh-in about the trueness of such values as ethics, morality and justice – notions which (should not) have an expiration date.”
The Spectrum Theater is a private Hungarian company in the heart of Transylvania, Romania which started its activities in 2014. The aim of the alternative theater initiative is to provide space for free artistic development and experimentation. Among its mission is to become a forum for showcasing current social problems, offering a broader point of view and perhaps some solutions.
The company’s main goal is the entertainment and education of its audience, the reinterpretation and continuation of traditional values and culture. The theater’s repertoire policy serves this purpose, which results in a diverse range of plays from the great classics of dramatic literature – such as Euripides, Shakespeare, Molière, Chekhov, Gogol – to contemporary drama – like Chowaniec, Cooney, Betti, Vișniec – as well as classical and contemporary Hungarian plays and adaptations.
In addition to performing its own productions, Spectrum Theater receives guest performers and companies – mainly from Transylvania and Hungary – in order to bring in foreign performances for the public of their home city, Tîrgu-Mureș. Among the professional connections of the company, Spectrum Theater is in a close partnership with the National Theater of Budapest, Hungary, due to which they are able to successfully welcome various studio performances of the company, several times.
For the productions aside of the company’s actors, the Spectrum Theater also employs retired artists on a permanent basis, as well as students of the art of acting from the local University of Arts, aiding them to settle on the field of acting.