Medea - the conception of drama within theatrical production

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“The Conception of Drama within Theatrical Production”

In Euripides’ tragic play, Medea, the playwright creates an undercurrent of chaos in the play upon asserting that, “the world’s great order [is being] reversed.” (Lawall, 651, line 408). The manipulation of the spectators’ emotions, which instills in them a sentiment of drama, is relative to this undertone of disorder, as opposed to being absolute. The central thesis suggests drama in the play as relative to the method of theatrical production. The three concepts of set, costumes, and acting, are tools which accentuate the drama of the play. Respectively, these three notions represent the appearance of drama on political, social, and moral levels. This essay will compare three different productions of Euripides’ melodrama, namely, the play as presented by the Jazzart Dance Theatre¹; the Culver City (California) Public Theatre²; and finally, the original ancient Greek production of the play, as it was scripted by Euripides.
The two contemporary productions of Medea were selected for this essay in an effort to contrast the ancient Greek version of the play with two modernized versions, which would demonstrate a wide distinction between the styles of production. Furthermore, both modernized versions of the play add their own innovation to the production, making for an even broader dissimilarity among the plays. Moreover, both recent productions are fashioned within cultures which have borrowed their political, social, and moral ways of life from Ancient Greek society, specifically, South Africa¹ (British Colonies), and The United States².
Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Jazzart Dance Theatre is known today for its distinctive style and ingenuity in extending the boundaries of South African dance. Contrarily to the original production of Medea, Jazzart’s unique approach uses dance (as opposed to music) to articulate emotion to the viewers. The dancers reinvent Greek tragedy, harbouring no artistic safety net.
The set plays a central role in dramatizing the theatrical experience of this particular production. As you can see in both figures 1 and 2, the set is purposely designed to resemble a metropolitan alleyway. This dramatic ambiance is created in an effort to parallel the harshness of the unforgiving streets of any particular conurbation. Normally, the audience would tend to construe this setting as a symbol of turmoil in the kingdom of Corinth. Thus, the set itself works as a device in developing a sense of political drama.
The costumes which are used for this particular production are also essential in dramatizing the on-stage action.

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