adapted by Liz Lochhead
Liz Lochhead’s Medea brings a contemporary Scottish flavour to Euripides' story of the abandoned wife who murders her own children in revenge on her husband. It was commissioned and first performed by Theatre Babel at The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, on 17 March 2000.
Medea has been abandoned by her husband Jason in favour of Glauke, the daughter of Kreon, King of Corinth. Fearing that she plans revenge, Kreon banishes Medea. However, he grants her one more day of freedom, in the course of which Medea poisons Glauke and goes on to murder the two children she has had with Jason.
A stage direction in the published text states that 'The people of this country [ie Corinth] all have Scots accents, their language varies from Scots to Scots-English – from time to time and from character to character – and particular emotional state of character.' In the Theatre Babel production, the actor playing the part of Medea, who has come to Corinth from her native Kolchis, spoke in the heavily accented English of an East European refugee.
The Theatre Babel premiere was directed by Graham McLaren with Maureen Beattie in the title role. The production was revived at the Assembly Rooms for the Edinburgh Festival fringe in August 2000, and then remounted for a national tour later in 2000. It returned to the Assembly Rooms for the Edinburgh Festival fringe in August 2001.
The playtext published by Nick Hern Books was awarded the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award in 2001.