MEDEA – Euripides



Translated, directed and interpreted by
Annika Strøhm and Saba Salvemini

An Areté Ensemble production (2011)

Project supported by Spazioff Trento and ResExtensa

Selected for INTERNATIONAL PUGLIA SHOW CASE 2012 – a showcase for international theatre operators organized by Teatro Pubblico Pugliese ( and for Festa della Toscana 2012.

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A woman of heart devoted to the wedding bed and its antique laws, marries a man of intellect and action, a man of state and society. This is the story of her rebellion against a world that lacks the values, for her indispensable, of respect, loyalty, trust, responsibility, love. Medea accomplishes the highest sacrifice. The most atrocious revenge. The only way to  gore this world is to strike it… in the heart. A story, in which parents do anything for their children’s best, and which turns into tragedy in the name of love. A tragedy of love and freedom. A tragedy where the children, all children, are the ones who pay. And in all this, everything is human…. terribly human.
To act out this drama are two actors, just as in  ancient Greece.

1 hour and 30 minutes approx.

A simple bare set design is chosen. The actors concentrate on playing the facts of the drama in this story that turns into tragedy. Medea is played by Annika Strøhm, while Jason, Creon, Aegeus and the Messenger are played by Saba Salvemini. A human mise en scène. We start from the premise that a classic text includes a force that guarantees the possibility of going outside time and space, an absolute universality of certain sentiments that also express its timelessness. We are not interested in updating the text. We work on the language, a direct language on the verge of colloquialism in which the sudden mythical references can appear in perfectly credible dialogues. We want to give space to human relations and to an essential staging of the text. In this way it may be possible, for an attentive eye, to read between the lines of reality at all levels, levels that the text has offered for centuries; mythical, of initiation, social… Characters free from any mythical attributes and where the strength, (one might say epic quality), lies in the blending of doubt and certainty but where nobody can say exactly what is good and what is bad. The staging of a vision, profoundly non- religious; a vision that drove Euripides to imagine these creatures who have lost all certainties and live with the turbulent   sentiments that unsettle the soul. We try not to have a fixed viewpoint but to deliver the facts – facts open to many interpretations. A staging that wishes to show the modernity of a classic text and leave the spectator free to receive the level of reference that is nearest to him.
This performance focuses on the work of the actor rather than on theatrical effects.

The text is that written by Euripides. Two characters have been cut, the wet nurse and the pedagogue. The text of the chorus is also cut. The role of the chorus is given to the audience whom the characters sometimes address directly. The spectators in this way are declared witnesses and judges of the events in the house of Medea and Jason. The rest of the text is present in the dialogues and monologues. The translation has been done, with the maximum respect for the text, comparing several translations in different languages, such as Italian, French, English, Spanish and Norwegian with the aim of finding a version that works on stage. The work on the text stays as true as possible to the tragedy written by Euripides.

Premiere at Teatro Kismet Opera in Bari April 2011 and  preview at Teatro Civico14 in Caserta. Selected for INTERNATIONAL PUGLIA SHOW CASE 2012 – a showcase for international theatre operators organized by Teatro Pubblico Pugliese and for Festa della Toscana 2012. The project has won a residency: Residenza Offx3 by SpazioOff in Trento; Finalist of the Theatre Festival Vd’A – Voci dell’anima 2011 – Rimini. Performances for students of several high schools in various Italian cities : Naples, Biella, Bari etc; Project supported by the theatre Spazio Off  in Trento and Resextenza.

What they say about Medea…
The reviewers :
Medea, 2441 years and not feel them
…A truly great result, intimate but impressive, harrowing and immense at the same time, mostly thanks to the protagonist and the deuteragonist, who’s acting was done in a masterly way, and their capacity to carry us into the story.                                                      Antonio Stornaiuolo,, November 2011 

An extremely complex demonstration of acting and Annika Strøhm is superb in designing a sorceress and a woman so similar to our neighbour, with the determination and  the temperament of a Anna Magnani. And Salvemini with a simple changing of a jacket or a coat provides to interprete all the male characters. All of them with the same hypocricy, with the same  illusoric  supremacy over the female universe that hits without pity and leaves knocked out and without will.
Nicola Viesti, Hystrio September 2011
This powerful staging of the text of Euripides…. shows us how the great classics are absolutely always contemporary… and moreover the possibility for the actors to carry out the most outstanding performances
Nicola Viesti, Corriere del Mezzogiorno August 2011
The greec tragedy …. has been masterly translated, directed and interpreted by the couple Annika Strøhm and Saba Salvemini of Areté Ensemble…
Angelica D‘Apote, August 2011

Everything is visible; the dressing, the leaving of the stage and the characters, everything smells of a Meierchol’dian solution that embraces, without contrast, the foldings of the mimetic naturalism. The scene never stops to be a continuous construction, it seems almost that it wants to declare it self a humble instrument for the representation of the tragic, conscious of the numerous versions of staging Euripides. This intuition reveals itself as the skill of reading and the wish to dry out the poetic prospective in the direction. As a conscious choice the wish is to make the text return to speak to us, and that is just what happens.
Christian Iorio,  Arteatro April 2011

…and the spectators:
Comments from the book of visitors at the Sancarluccio Theatre in Naples – November 2011:
An extraordinary Medea that brings the classic tragedy into the contemporary time without ever betraying truth and passion, making the spectator/actor  “accomplice” of the events in the tragedy of Euripide. Very strong the civil value that comes out of this new interpretation of these exceptional actors Annika Strøhm an Saba Salvemini. Congratulations” …
Gianluca Masone , Actor and director

Art – civilization – Words that reaches the essence – Here Theatre is expressed as reason of life in an essentially human way. How to burst/puncture the indifference?  Be ashamed of the tastelessness of today. Thank you guys.
Lucia Stefanelli Cervelli

…as and “old” professor of classic literature, poet, critic and writer: tonight the 25th of November 2011, through you Dear ones, exceptional “greek”, I have had the possibility to assist one of the major demonstrations of European Theatre in the last fifty years: pathos and mathos, joined with a re-consecrated mittel European spirit, that has reached the roots of the womb of the Earth, Mother yet doleful. I wish to embrace “paternally” these to great interpreters for having “returned” to the stage a dizzy degree of human truth. Thank you!…. As actress she has as suffering woman combined her Norwegian soul with the greek dialogue, just as ”Antipenelope” has undone the cloth with her deception!
  Antonio Cervelli

A true madness of great theatre…sublime… both actors very very good.

A marvellous transposition of the classic tragedy in a language sometimes contemporary without betraying truth and coherence. Masterly interpretation of the actors Annika Strøhm an Saba Salvemini… Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations.

Precious, intelligent transposition, great theatre.
Miranda Grande

Amazing actors. Sublime interpretation, they have managed to transmit the entire drama of Medea.
Elvira Vallese

A fabulous performance, great, true to the text which is very relevant today. An excellent interpretation. Very good.

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