Medea (adaptation)

June 20, 2017

I love Medea, and have spent time putting together an adaptation of the play, for possible use in schools.  The demands of the lead role are considerable though, so while it might not be used in schools immediately, I hope that, when finished, it might reappear at another time.  Another script sitting in the to do pile.


Medea is calm. Composed.  No trace of the crazed shouting of earlier. You would never know she was so upset. She wears a long black dress.  Pearls.  White gloves. Short 1920s bobbed hair.  Dark eyes.  Blood red lips. She is interrupting the Corinth Club dancers in rehearsal.

MEDEA:  My Corinthian ladies, I’m here.(Clears her throat) A stranger should adopt a city’s views. A stranger should not actively resist the city’s will. But this unforeseen disaster has ruined me. Energy sapped. Smiles gone. I only long to resign from this wonderful life. And die.

For that man was everything, the whole world to me. You know this. You also know that we women are senseless creatures – No listen! We are, AND IT IS OUR FAULT.

DANCER One: We must get a husband, at great price – and then he tyrants over us

DANCER Two: We stick the course – we always do what our hearts and heads hate, do the best we can. It’s for the children we say.

DANCER Three: Where I come from divorce is not honourable. The stigma.

MEDEA: But when the children are involved?

DANCER Four: We know our place. We make do. If we perform our tasks, not resenting our yoke, we live happy lives, they say.

MEDEA: But when the husband spurns what’s indoors and finds his pleasure elsewhere…?

DANCER Five: We smile, submit, stay silent.

MEDEA: Because the men provide.  While we heads down at home, the men are at the wars. I’d three times over stand in battle than suffer childbirth once. He has his new city. A new father’s house. A wife. Joy. Friends. I have no city. No home. No father, brother or friend to give me refuge from this torment.

I ask you all one thing: Silence. If I can find a way, some revenge for this treatment. On the man who destroys me. On the man who gives his daughter to him. On that daughter who is the new wife –

They say a woman is timid. Lacks courage. Is a coward at the sight of steel.

But wrong her? She’ll show her heart to be full of scorpions.

Medea, extract from scene 3, T Gemmell

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