The UW Undergraduate Theater Society is mounting a production of Euripides’ Medea from February 23 to March 5. Classics graduate student Anna Simas consulted as dramaturg for the production, which uses Ruby Blondell’s translation of the play. Simas brought her previous experience as dramaturg for UTS as well as her love of Greek tragedy to the production, offering crucial background information for Euripides’ play to the cast and crew.
This is Simas’ second time working with director Chris Mowers, a Classics major, whose knowledge of Greek myth adds depth to his directorial decisions. Mowers was interested in incorporating elements drawn from Apollonius’ version of the Medea myth into this production; this will allow the audience to experience the full evolution of Medea during the course of the performance.
Simas approaches Greek tragedy through the lens of decolonial and intersectional transnational feminism, which brought new meaning to a play whose main character is decidedly “other”: woman, foreigner, immigrant. As dramaturg, Simas had a goal of not only teaching the cast and crew about Ancient Greek culture, but also of inviting them to question the way outsiders were treated in Ancient Greece. Simas says, “The themes present in Medea are especially striking given our current political climate in which outsiders are treated as objects of fear and hatred. We can see in Medea’s story a call to action to fight back against oppressive structures of power which threaten to silence us.”
Says Simas of the experience, “It was incredibly rewarding to work on this project with such a motivated and passionate group of people. The production is the perfect combination of people who already knew a lot about the mythic tradition of Medea and people who were eager to learn about her story. My job was to make sure everyone was as familiar as possible with each character’s motivations and backstory. I sought to provide both large-scale thematic and cultural context for the play, as well as detailed philological analysis of the lines each character spoke. The cast and crew were very interested to learn about the original Greek written by Euripides, and often asked about the shades of meaning behind the English words they were speaking. They have created a beautifully well-rounded production.”
Performances run from February 23rd to March 5th in the Cabaret Theater in Hutchinson Hall. Tickets are available at http://students.washington.edu/uwuts/ or at the door. There is also a free preview show on February 22nd at 6:30 p.m.