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MEDEALAND

Medea is alone in her darkness, with her darkness. There is no one around her who is able to see what she is struggling with, who sees that she needs help. What happens when you are not seen or heard by those closest to you or by the society around you?

​We light up the people around us with our eyes. When they look the other way, they risk being left in the dark. We all need to be seen to know we exist. But the looks we direct at our fellow human beings are also filled with expectations about who they are and how they should be in relation to others. These expectations help to create us as people.

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Other people's thoughts about what it means to be a woman, man, mother and father, help to shape the way we fulfill these roles, and they help create our own expectations of ourselves. Mastering our own lives is closely linked to the feeling of how well we fill the roles. Our frustrations and crises sometimes come from a change in expectations both from ourselves and the society around us. It can happen because we change status or move to another community.

 

Medea is an immigrant and involuntarily separated from her husband. She is expelled because she has not been married long enough before the divorce, and the children she has with her ex-husband, Jason, has a uncertain future.  Even though she fears what she might do in her despair, she is not heard. She is not seen despite the fact that she is able to put into words her own situation and her terrifying fantasies about suicide and murder. Perhaps because she does not appear as a classic victim, it is difficult to see her crisis. She hears destructive and loving voices, who tels her to get drunk and celebrate the darkness.

 

For Sara Stridsberg, "Medealand" is Medea's mental landscape, her inner world, but also the external circumstances that initiate her experience of her own situation.

"Medealand" is based on Euripides' tragedy Medea, written in ancient Greece in 431 BC. There, Medea appears as an avenger; a monster because she kills her children. Euripides' time is described as the cradle of Western civilization. It was a patriarchal society where women had no power and Euripides focused on the lack of rights for women and foreigners. This tragedy is based on the rules of a civilization where the woman  only was associated with motherhood, and her power was only linked to the family and the home, and barely that. This makes women different from men, and they should therefore be treated differently from men, are not unusual thoughts in our time either. Many believe that the roles we get in life are predetermined, depending on our gender.

 

When a woman kills her child, she becomes a monster, precisely because it is assumed that she is particularly closely connected to the children. In "Medealand", Medea repeats over and over: "I will no longer be a woman." For many, being seen as a woman or a man can be the only way to be seen. It is challenging to create new roles, and it is demanding for new generations to step out of established attitudes to work and power. 

Questions about what love should be, is, and remain in our lives run like a common thread through "Medealand", thoughts that the intelligent Medea cannot get rid of. Happiness follows in the wake of love. Jason's happiness with the new woman is constantly emphasized in the play. It is easy to be overlooked in a society where everyone is high on themselves and their own happiness, and where systems and regulations support selfish instincts to not care.

 

Medea is made invisible by everyone around her, both as a woman and a foreigner. She is unable to take control, and eventually loses her grip on reality. Without the gaze of others, she is finally no longer able to put words to her own misfortune, and chooses to remain in Medealand.

Medea needs to be a free person. Like many women, she experiences a crisis when she gives birth to her child. She realizes that, unlike Jason, who can only go his own way when he wants to, her body and the body's experiences bind her to the child. She is afraid of never being able to be herself again, a fearless person who is in control. To this  Stridsberg write: "I would rather die a thousand times on the battlefield than give birth to a child."​

TEAM

LENE THERESE TEIGEN
Director and light design
SARA STRINDBERG

Playwright
ÅSE HEGRENES
Scenography

ARNE KAMBESTAD
Light design
IDA CECILIE KLEM
ANE SKUMVOLL
AUDUN SANDEM 
KIM KALSÅS 
MARIANNE NIELSEN
RENY MARIE FOLGERØ 
LINN PETTERSEN

Actors

PREMIERE

Den Nationale Scene, Bergen
September 2014

REVIEWS

Winner of best performing art
NATT & DAG
 


 

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