MEDEA by Euripides
MIKHAIL CHEKHOV RIGA RUSSIAN THEATRE – LATVIA
The Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre (RRT), one of the oldest Russian theatres in the world outside Russia, founded in 1883, presents Medea by Euripides, directed by Vladislav Nastavšev, one of Latvia’s most prominent directors and composers.
In this masterly tragedy, which deals with the last act of the passionate affair between Jason and Medea, Jason decides to abandon his wife in order to marry the daughter of the king of Corinth. Medea takes the cruelest revenge: she kills their two children. With Medea, which combines moral complexity with overwhelming emotional impact, Euripides has succeeded in creating not only one of the most powerful figures in all Greek literature, but also one of its greatest tragic dramas. The fascination of bright, sharp and passionate myths has not been fading for more than two thousand years.
▪ With Greek and English surtitles
▪Under the auspices of the Embassy of the Russian Federation and the Russian Cultural Center in the Republic of Cyprus
Medea, daughter of Aietes, king of Kolchis, and grand-daughter of the Sun-god, leaves her father and murders her brother to help Jason take the treasure of her family, the Golden Fleece. To crown all, she has remained a faithful wife to him and has bore him two sons. Nevertheless, he betrays her and wrongs her. He decides to abandon her for the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. Moreover, as if this was not enough, Creon orders her banishment from the country. After an outburst of despair, she manages to convince Creon to let her stay in the country until the next day.
In vain, Jason tries to convince her that what he is doing is for her own good and the good of their children. Now she proceeds deliberately to destroy Jason and all who are connected with him: Creon’s daughter, Creon himself and her two children. And when Jason swears vengeance against her and tries to force the doors of the house, Medea suddenly appears above, borne on a fiery car sent by her grandfather, the Sun- god.
Euripides focuses on the place and time of the drama, cutting out the figure of Medea from the mythological context. Euripides’ Medea is a woman who acts motivated solely by love; her love for Jason and this quality she owes is so special that cuts her out of the human race.
This tragedy is a masterful presentment of passion in its secret folds and recesses. Euripides opens a new world to art and gives us a nearer view of passionate emotion, both in its purest forms and in the wildest aberrations by which men are controlled, or troubled, or destroyed.
This is a story about the earthly order and the divine order.
On earth, we are used to believe that power is what makes a person mighty and invulnerable, endows them with special rights and properties, and raises them above the others. However, we often forget there is a truth, which is beyond earthly authorities, and there are laws, by which both a ruler and the lowest of his subjects must equally obey: one must not break an oath; one may not cheat on his wife; one may not betray – either another person or themselves… And when a person forgets about the highest truth, they get punished – this is the divine order of things. It is impossible to avoid such a punishment – and it is impossible to know in advance how, when and where from this punishment will come. Violation of the divine conception is a very subtle matter: a person’s choice sets in motion huge forces that, unknown to that person, determine what awaits them. And the ancient tragedy is, first of all, the tragedy of inability to see, to predict, to decipher one’s destiny because the future is hidden.
Medea, having dared to rebel against the earthly authority, becomes an instrument of fate – an instrument of divine retribution for a crime against the higher truth.
Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre
Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre (RRT) is one of the oldest Russian theatres outside Russia (founded in 1883). Historically, its artistic search has been developing in the directions of deep psychological performances and expansion of the frameworks of a drama genre. The Theatre was the first one to stage a number of plays, which became particularly popular; it also turned to musical performances very early and quite successfully.
Since 1990, Eduards Cehovals, General Manager, has invited many stage directors from Russia and other countries in order to enrich its artistic production. The Theatre also involves Latvian stage directors and encourages the cultural dialogue in all forms and levels.
Since 2000, the Theatre has had strong creative relations with the Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls; the project Odessa, That Magical Town… is one of the most outstanding productions and has successfully toured worldwide (Germany, Russia, Israel, USA, and Ukraine).
In 2006, the Theatre (former Riga Russian Drama Theatre) re-claimed its historical name and acquired the right to be called after Mikhail (Michael) Chekhov, paying tribute to the brilliant actor, director and teacher, who dedicated two years of his life working in Riga.
In 2010, the Theatre opened the season in its renovated and newly equipped building, and in 2014, “updated” its troupe, too, involving the drama graduates of the Latvian Academy of Culture.
In 2012, RRT brought to stage the legendary figure of Oscar Strok, “the king of tango”, born in Latvia. A production, based on his music and life story, is the Theatre’s calling card.
Nowadays, the Theatre is proud to be popular among viewers both in Latvia and abroad. Its repertory covers the Russian, Latvian and world classics as well as young playwrights’ works. On the big and small stages, performances of all genres are held, including children’s and musical productions. The theatre often goes on tour actively and is quite successful in the festivals’ world.
- Friday 7 July│Curium Ancient Theatre
- Sunday 9 July│“Skali” Amphitheatre, Aglantzia
Translated by Innocenty Annensky
Directed by Vladislavs Nastavševs
Set Design/Music Composition: Vladislavs Nastavševs
Costumes: Rūta Kuplā
Lighting: Oskars Pauliņš
Medea: Guna Zariņa
Jason: Andris Keišs
Creon: Igors Čerņavskis
Messenger: Maksims Busels
Children: Damirs Onackis, Arye Lerman