This is a story of Medea

This is a story of Medea by Euripedes
This is a Greek story in Singapore
This is a story of Medea in Singapore

This is Medea
This is an actor
Medea is an Actor
An Actor is Medea
This is a story of an actor in Singapore.

This is a story of Medea.

At the start of the Directors’ Lab program, I set out to critically look at the Singaporean actor today – the actor’s craft, the actor’s personal journey, the industry of acting and the actor’s place in Singapore. What are her trials and tribulations? What are his joys and hopes? Where does the craft of acting fit into today’s artistic world and society’s consciousness at large? Does he have a family? Does she fear death? Is there allure in fame? Is she trapped by her age, gender, ethnicity, or does she exploit those traits?

My process has brought me to the story of Medea.

In the past year, as part of the research phase, I visited Tua Pradit Prasartthong (Anatta Theatre Troupe, Bangkok, Thailand) and Danny Yung (Zuni Icosahedron). Both directors use traditional theatrical languages to create and evolve culture. I asked myself an uncomfortable question, what is my theatrical language?

It was not an easy question to answer. It was also a liberating question. My theatrical language is not limited to English and Mandarin. Neither is it limited to Naturalism and Bretcht. This is because the rich and diverse culture of Singapore’s past, present and future offers a much wider diversity of possibilities. I started to look at the elements of culture that exist around me. This staging of Medea is the start.

These questions guide my process:

  • How can I use Medea to learn directing?
    • How to work with text
    • How to work with body
    • How can I use the story of Medea to work with actors today?
  • How can I use the story of Medea as a looking glass into Singapore society?
    • How can I use the story of Medea to convey my point of view of art makers in society?

Granddaughter of the Sun, Medea, murders her king father and brother to help the man she loves, Jason of the Argo. Banished from her homeland, she flees with him seeking asylum in Corinth. Though married and father of her two sons, Jason abandons Medea to form an alliance with King Creon of Corinth. He marries his daughter. Forsaken and destroyed, Medea rages godly revenge on her once-love. Her fury is quenched only in the butchering of her own children to punish their father.

The epic of Medea burns with revenge, heartache, and despair. It is a story of betrayal, of dreams lost, of desperation.  It is also a story of immigration, sexism, and justice. This new staging of Medea is the culmination of over a year of research under the Substation’s Director’s Lab program. The process has been guided by these questions: where does theatre and the actor fit in contemporary Singapore? What is the value of theatre?

The story of Medea is a warning: a warning of retribution should we continue to use the love and dreams of others to build ourselves and our nation.

Culture is collaboration. When looking for collaborators, I was interested to work with art-makers who would like to explore how the craft of making theatre and their respective crafts could produce new possibilities – new culture.  Joining me on my journey are:

Benjamin Lim Yi, a composer who has rich experience creating new pieces of music for traditional Chinese instruments, to explore how we can create a unique world around the piece.

Ruby Jayaseelan, a Bharatanatyam dancer and actor to explore the possible outcomes of mixing Bharatanatyam choreography, a Greek story and contemporary actors together.

Chad O’Brien is an actor. Originally from Perth, he received his BA from LaSalle and since graduation, has made a home and career in Singapore. We first met in a script workshop run by The Finger Players.

Farah Ong is an actress, a performance artist, and an art-maker.  I can’t remember when exactly we first met, but I first worked with her on Tahan (Teater Ekamatra). She is of mix heritage – Singaporean Malay and Chinese

Josephine (Jo) Tan is an actress. We first met in the SRT Young Company program ages ago. She has worked extensively on the local stage. She spent 9 months living in France studying under Philippe Gualier. She is Singaporean Chinese.

We will have our first workshop on April 21, leading up to the Artist Talk scheduled on April 30, 2014

Artwork by Alexa Medea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s