Talisman Theatre is privileged to present the Canadian English-language premiere of The Medea Effect, written by Quebecoise playwrightSuzie Bastien and translated for Talisman Theatre by Nadine Desrochers, playing at Theatre La Chapelle from October 11-20. Directed by Emma Tibaldo, the gifted cast stars Éloi ArchamBaudoin as Ugoand Jennifer Morehouse as Adain this powerful piece stabbed with humour. Translator Nadine Desrochers has risen to the challenge of the text, “The work is built like a delicate score where scenes of controlled behaviour bring us moments of brief respite as emotions swell towards their unthinkable climax.”
An actress, a director, a casting call for Euripides' Medea. Does she get the part? Perhaps, but this is incidental. In The Medea Effect, Ada is a mother who has abandoned her golden child in the midst of an emotional dementia. Ugo's greatest childhood fear has come to pass; he has been abandoned by his demented mother. What surprises us is the shock of recognizing ourselves in the mirrors of these interacting characters. When sonless mother confronts motherless son the atmosphere becomes charged. A play about the role of Euripides' play in the lives of these two characters, The Medea Effect shimmers with the sparks and flashes of profound insight penned over two thousand years ago but refracted and focused through a contemporary lens.
Director Emma Tibaldo has been obsessed with Medea for as long as she can remember, “She is a mysterious hero to me, not because she kills her children, but because she has the courage to accept the repercussions of this unimaginable act.” The Medea Effect explores this suffering, this courage and this monstrous act. It looks at a woman's struggle to reclaim her place in this world.
The Medea Effectrefers to Euripides' play but is a modern examination of the tragedy of trauma, emotional detachment and loss. Tibaldo would like audiences to understand that humanity is fragile, complex and often ugly, but that we are all capable of reaching out and showing great compassion. She clarifies, “We all carry fears around with us that determine how we live our lives, the choices we make, the people we love and hate. If we're lucky, we are capable of recognizing our fears and moving past them.” Moreover, Tibaldo questions the currency of empathy, “What does it mean to connect to someone else's pain? In a world where connecting comes with a click, can we open ourselves to others and meet them as they are, imperfect and damaged?”
Actor Éloi ArchamBaudoin was struck by the idea that actors never ask directors why they want to direct a certain play, how they want to tell the story, what they think of the character. For him, Ugo and Ada are perfect for each other because they are such opposites, “Each embodies the obstacles the other must overcome in order to be an accomplished theatre artist. These are the relationships that make us evolve as actors and directors... provided we know how to listen.”
“I’m scared of Medea, of what she will teach me.” - Ugo -
For Jennifer Morehouse, this beautiful playis about the real loveyou can feel when you know the other person in the relationship is genuinely listening, even if this is sometimes very difficult for them do. It also deals with substance abuse that can develop due to a profound loss, a severing. She explains, “Many people stop being listened to while trying to pull themselves out of addiction. I love how the play faces this issue head-on with dignity and meaning, with humour even, and without apology or rancour.” She continues, “I hope the audience comes away with the message that when we listen, magic can happen.”
Talisman Theatre’s Artistic Director Lyne Paquette sees the play as coming at a time when we are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, “In the face of anti-terrorist legislation, invasive technologies, increasing powers of police surveillance, political correctness and political nepotism, it is important to look at characters who are unafraid to express their outrage, take action and assume the consequences; characters unafraid to ‘occupy’ their lives rather than cower in the face of power.” In this play Ada, like Medea, has the courage to take stock of her past and confront her present.
Talisman Theatre is renowned for its design-driven productions; Paquette has trained as both an engineer and a stage designer. For The Medea Effect she has chosen simple stone slabs to recall the stage of Ancient Greek drama. She is also working closely with video meister Johnny Ranger (Six Mil Antennas, Mindroots, Moment Factory) on some stunning and evocative video effects conveying the sand and water of the story. Completing the talented design team is David Perreault Ninacs, lighting; Michael Leon, composer; Fruzsina Lanyi, costumes; Matthew Waddell, sound and Rasili Botz, movement. The stage manager is Sara Rodriguez.
The Medea Effect (10 shows only)
Talisman Theatre Playing at Theatre La Chapelle, 3700 rue St. Dominique
Tuesday to Saturday, 8:00 pm
Matinee: Sat., Oct. 20 at 3:00 pm
Tickets: 514 843-7738 or purchase online: La Chapelle box office
25$ regular, 21$ students, 13$ Carte Premières
Early bird discount: tickets at $20 are available at Theatre La Chapelle by phone or in person until Oct. 6 by using the code word ‘Ada & Ugo’.