The National Theatre Live rebroadcast (the original live broadcast was at 2 pm NY time, and I caught the re-broadcast of the recorded live broadcast at 7 pm NY time) of MEDEA was a bit disappointing. Was it because it was modern? Was the problem the new adaptation by Ben Power that, at about 90 minutes running time, felt longer? Was it the enforced “director’s notes” by Carrie Cracknell (good director of the very good production of A Doll’s House at BAM earlier this year) that were foisted on the audience in lieu of movie trailers?
Note: I never read theatre programs’ director’s notes before the production because they invariably set up the production to fail to meet what the director thought s/he was doing. Don't tell me what you meant. Speak the speech I pray you.
Was it people talking about the play itself and the history of Greek theatre (all men, no women, onstage or off) and Euripides and women killing babies and the British legal concept of The Medea Complex? Or was it when the wondrous Helen McCrory said she’d talked to two shrinks who’d worked with women who’d killed their children — generally within14 days of the father leaving….
Upshot: I do not want to know the actors’/director’s/playwright’s/dramaturge’s homework, any more than I want to read the rough drafts and back-stories of stories or novels.
Present the play to me, right here, right now, and tell me no tales of how hard you worked to be able to present it. (For one thing, the whole production is likely to come off as way too cerebral.)
Just Do It.
~ Molly Matera, signing off for now – there may be more particulars another day….