Daniel Nelson

The first century AD play Medea is a Roman tragedy with a Greek subject. Its latest incarnation, Blueprint Medea, is a 90-minute drama about Iraqis, Kurds and Brits.

Having seen Euripedes’ version will give you bragging rights, but it’s unnecessary: writer/director Julia Pascal’s version must stand or fall on its own merits. 

Pascal’s Medea is a Kurdish independence fighter who seeks asylum in Britain and has twins with a Londoner (“I speak London”) of Iraqi heritage, Jason nee Mohammed. a minicab driver who’s doing the Knowledge.

It’s a passionate affair, but under pressure from his more traditionalist dad (whose angry rant about Islamic and Western values is one of the play’s most powerful moments) he sheds his Jason skin and reverts to Mohammed, triggering tragedy.

Although the drama focuses on a feminist icon trying to live on her own terms rather than those of the men around her, Jason-Mohammed’s betrayal is more dramatically interesting because it involves change.

Medea’s story is told in a series of short- fast-moving scenes that flash backwards and forwards in time between Kurdistan and England.  Women’s independence, men’s violence, ideas of female purity, identity politics – all are part of the potent mix. So is the plight of the Kurds.

One of the joys of London is the chance to see and hear stories from and about other cultures, communities and countries.  Blueprint Medea does it for Kurds and Kurdistan and particularly for Kurdish women who have taken up arms

Max Rinehart and Ruth D'Silva in Blueprine Medea

Max Rinehart and Ruth D'Silva in Blueprine Medea

Image by Finborough theatre

* Blueprint Medea is at the Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, SW10, until 8 June, £20/£18 conc. Info: 01223 357 851/  www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk



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