I have to admit that I have not watched many Greek tragedies. In spite of living in Athens for the last thirty years this is the first time I went to the Herodion Theater and saw “Medea”.
The character herself is intriguing, the story well known so I concentrated on the text, the direction and the acting. I was very pleasantly surprised and enjoyed a performance of very high standards. Mr. Antypas is a respected director and I think that he did justice to his fame with this doric, stern, no frills, direction which allowed his audience to concentrate on the text. The use of Mr. Himonas’ translation added to the enjoyment. The cast was uneven with the women winning my vote. It is after all a very “female” play. “Medea” is about love and betrayal, about a clash of civilisations, about pride and humiliation. One can decide to like or dislike Medea, comprehend her actions or reject her but cannot ignore her. Medea is a princess, a foreigner (how contemporary..), Jason calls her “barbarian” and a neighbouring king asks her advice since she is famed for her wisdom; a haunting play.
Seated on the hard, backless and very hot marble seats, watching a solemn performance under the discreet light of a very young moon, I promised myself to watch the Athens Festival more closely next year and add Epidaurus to my agenda.
It is one of the greatest attractions of an Athenian summer.