“How quickly could you write a fun, up to date version of MEDEA? 1-1/2 hour tops?”
“A fun up to date version of MEDEA? Does she still kill her kids?”
“well, yes she kills her children. I would like some type of chorus, it can be ritualistic, yet attractive to a college audience - does that make sense?”
And thus began my latest project.
My friend Marty recently landed a faculty job in the theater department at Iowa Western Community College. He’d already directed something for them, but this next production would be the first thing he’s directed for them since coming on staff. Medea was already chosen to be part of their season, but he wanted to put his own spin on it. So he sends me an email.
Slowly it came back to us both that the reason the whole thing seemed familiar was that I’d been struggling with the Medea legend - the whole Medea legend, Jason and the Argonauts and the quest for the Golden Fleece, and everything that happened after the child killings - for a number of years. 2009 will make it year twenty. Which means I’d been kicking the thing around since, we were both in grad school together.
The first full draft I could find was dated August of 1989. The last serious stab I took at the thing was June of 1996, not long after my first production in Minneapolis, “Heaven and Home.”
Note to self at the time, Medea is not the best thing to be working on while dating. Learned that one the hard way.
And yet, now, during the latest Medea resurrection, is the time I chose to sign up with one of those online screening services. This should be interesting.
“What do you do?”
“I write plays.”
“Really? Wow. What are you working on right now?”
“Gee, look at the time...”