This new adaptation of Medea, co-written by WA's own Kate Mulvany, puts one of history's most notorious family breakdowns under the microscope.
A BA graduate from Curtin University, Kate is a playwright and actor. Her produced plays include: Father O Friendly, Derek Drives A Datsun, Vaseline Lollies, Blood and Bone (Winner of Naked Theatre Co's "Write Now"! Award), Naked Ambition, Storytime and the musical Somewhere…(co-written with Tim Minchin for Railway Street Theatre). Her play The Seed won the 2004 Phillip Parsons Award, was performed at B Sharp in 2007 and transferred upstairs as part of Company B Belvoir’s 2008 season to much acclaim. Kate also performed in both productions and it will tour nationally this year. Kate’s play The Danger Age was shortlisted for the 2004 Patrick White Award and premiered at La Boite Theatre in February 2008. Kate is writing a play for Bell Shakespeare’s Mind’s Eye and her new play The Web will premiere at Hothouse Theatre Company and Black Swan Theatre Company.
As an actor she has performed for Sydney Theatre Company, Company B Belvoir Street, Pork Chop, Ensemble, Griffin, Perth Theatre Company and Black Swan, as well as various film and television roles.
Kate is currently in New York, working on a TV series with Al Pacino. Kate is making her US TV series debut in The Hunt, which follows a group of Nazi hunters living in New York City in 1977 and is inspired by real events. While in New York, she shared an intimate look at the writing of Medea...
It’s always terrifying to be asked to ‘adapt’. What, after all, does that really mean? How tight or loose are the boundaries? How much of ourselves are we allowed, as creators, to infiltrate the text? How do we take a classic – with all its potency, its history, its collective memory – and make it our own whilst keeping the purity of the original?
These are the questions I had to ask myself when I was approached to adapt Medea with Anne-Louise Sarks. Two women retelling the story of the most infamous mother in history. Or rather, in our case, telling the story of Medea’s children – so absent in other retellings, and yet the two souls on which the story hinges.
And this was the key to exploding our adaptive boundaries. Those forgotten children. Those two little boys in the midst of a marital maelstrom.
This subverted version of Medea was written after an intensive two-week workshop with two boys – Joe Kelly and Rory Potter - aged 12 and 11. I am indebted to them. Many of the moments in this play came about through their own invention, such as particular songs, lines and even their names. (‘Leon’ means ‘brave warrior’ and ‘Jasper’ means ‘precious stone’.)
Part of the joy of bringing this text to life was that freedom of choice from the boys – a freedom that made my initial concerns about adapting a classic null and void. They took the story and made it their own anyway. They had no notion of ‘textual purity’. They just wanted to tell their story. And Anne-Louise and I followed their belligerent path happily! Since that first production, this reworking of Medea has travelled the world – from Sydney to Auckland to London to Warsaw to Basel...and now it is here, in my beloved home state. Throughout all of these productions, the cast and creatives have brought their own selves to the process. What you are seeing tonight is an ongoing conversation about what it is to be a child, what it means to be an adult, and how the two can often flip.
The play you are about to see is still Medea at heart, but for the first time ever we get to hear the children speak. We get to see them play. We get to see them laugh and tease and cry and examine their own existence. More importantly, we get to spend their last hour on earth with them when no-one else in history has. We become the community they needed...
Huge thanks to the wonderful Sally Richardson, the beautiful cast and creative team, all at Black Swan, and our West Australian audiences for supporting new Australian work.