First Slovene Production
1st March 2014
Medea is one of the most notorious women in Greek mythology, her myth being one of the most widely treated. In Antiquity, the story of the fugitive, abandoned wife and her revenge was a popular motif in poetry, whereas the dramatic treatment of the myth has only been preserved in two versions, the Greek one and the Latin one. The general outline of the story remains the same in all versions: Jason will claim the throne from his uncle in Thessalonian Iolcus, but only if he retrieves the Golden Fleece from Colchis, on the shores of the Black Sea. Therefore, the young man builds up a ship Σ according to some versions of the myth, the first ship ever to plough the sea Σ invites heroes from all over Greece on board and reaches his destination after a strenuous and perilous sea journey in order to ask Aeetes, the king of Colchis, for the Golden Fleece. He will get it providing he performs (again) certain deadly tasks. Jason is blessed with the love of the king’s daughter Medea who is a priestess of the goddess Hecate and as such skilled in magic, so she assists him in coping with the tasks. The Argonauts flee with the Golden Fleece, but in order to prevent her father to follow them, Medea dismembers her brother Absyrtus and scatters his parts in the sea. The two lovers are forced to flee Iolcus too Σ the victim of Medea’s magic is now Jason’s uncle Pelias Σ to find refuge in Corinth. There, Jason sees the possibility of getting out of trouble by marrying the king’s daughter, whereas Medea is forced into exile. Hurt and devastated, she takes revenge by murdering the king and his daughter along with her own and Jason’s sons and flees in a golden chariot sent by her grandfather Helios, god of the sun. In the five centuries between the Euripides’ version dating from the 5th century BC, and Seneca’s version dating from the 1st century AD, there were at least a dozen of dramatic treatments of the myth, and it seems as though Seneca’s Medea had read them Σ and now strives to fulfil the myth against her own will. Will she make it? Will she prove a worthy successor of her greater, elder Greek sister? Namely, Seneca’s Medea should not only read as a story of a fugitive and abandoned wife who inflicts punishment mainly upon herself, by murdering her own children, but also in the context of Steiner’s death of a tragedy Σ the tragic irony of the last preserved dramatisation of the ancient myth of Medea, disregarded in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century along with other Seneca’s tragedies for supposedly being a pompous and unstageable rhetoric drama, distant from the noble tragedy, lies precisely in its unfulfilment.
Translated by Mateja Petan
Music performed by Drago Ivanuša (midi accordion, voice, tibetan singing bowl, didgeridoo, computer) and Enos Kugler (drums, udu, xylophone, computer). Voices of children in first chorus: Mladinski pevski zbor Osnovne šole Janka Modra, Dol pri Ljubljani, conductress Bojana Gajšek. Song in last chorus sung by Otroški pevski zbor RTV Slovenija, conductress Anka Jazbec. Sound material recorded in studios Silos and studio 26 of Radio Slovenija.