Over the years, Euripedes’ famed Greek tragedy Medea, has been adapted and taken on a host of different avatars onstage. When actor Shakthi Ramani talks about Medea, it is hard to miss the awe in her voice — there is wonderment for the complex play and its central character.
“We live in a world that celebrates the binaries extensively, and everything needs to black or white, or good or bad. Medea for me, lands somewhere in between this, and that is very powerful,” she says.
Shakthi is all set to bring alive Medea on stage through Why she did, What she did, a play by Theatre Nisha based on Euripedes’ Medea.
The idea to stage this play came from Theatre Nisha founder V. Balakrishnan who has been wanting to bring Medea’s story onstage for over three years now. Balakrishnan traces the history of Euripides’ play back to 431 BC when it was first performed in the City Dionysia festival in ancient Athens.
Based on the myth of Jason and Medea, the play focuses on the former princess of the Colchis kingdom, Medea, who finds her world upturned after Jason leaves her for the Greek princess of Corinth. Medea sets down the path of vengeance and murders his new wife and her own two sons before she escapes to Athens. While based on the original play, Balakrishnan says that their articulation is new.
For Shakthi, who has directed the play, Medea and her shades of grey allows the audience the space to feel like they can engage with the character just as who they are. “She really speaks to who we are. To watch this is amazing, but to be able to perform and bring this alive on stage is even better,” she says.
The play will have percussions by Vishwa BharathWith Why she did, What she did being her 49th play, she says that she is immensely enthused by the idea of performing and staging the first show of this play in the city.
“You don’t really prepare for a specific performance, you prepare, and the performance happens,” says Shakthi, when asked about how she approaches a play that is not just complex such as this one, but also has her as the solo performer onstage. She adds, “Preparing and training has been happening for twelve years now, and this will continue since it is a craft that you are going to have to learn every single day for the rest of your life.”
Why she did, What she did will be staged on December 8 and 9 at the Alliance Francaise of Madras., Nungambakkam. Entry for 16 years and above. Tickets are priced at ₹300 and available on insider.in.