This week we have been talking to our two leads; the infamous Medea and Jason, played by Holly Cowan and Oli Sheard, respectively. With a matter of days before opening night, we reflect on the process so far and their views on “Medea”.
Given the fact that its now only a matter of days before our first show, how would you both describe the rehearsal process so far?
Oli: It’s been a very relaxed environment allowing my characterisation of Jason to develop into its final form in line with the setup of the play itself.
Holly: I’ve loved it, Asha has been an amazing director to work with and the entire cast has been very supportive over the past few weeks.
Holly ~”It’s a great atmosphere at rehearsals and the fun I have during them has helped me remember why I love performing.”
What are your favourite scenes and why?
Holly: Definitely the first time we see Medea and Jason meet on stage. Here we see the root of the plot as the two confront each other face to face. I feel that the emotions displayed here are the most relatable of all that are shown. We see her in a raw emotional state, her anger, sadness, disbelief and acknowledgment of her mistake in following Jason from Colchis, which really allows me to get carried away when playing her. We too see Jason’s character, an arrogant and self-justified man who lacks the empathy to understand any of her feelings, only making them worse. The resentment and anger the pair have towards each other makes it incredibly fun to do.
How would you both describe the dynamics between Jason and Medea throughout the play?
Oli: Medea and Jason’s relationship is obviously a very difficult one. The disagreement between the two of them, in my eyes, is set up because of emotions he feels towards Glauce which he doesn’t know how to process and as such attempts to find reasoning for the actions that he commits.
What were your inspirations when preparing and performing your characters?
Oli: I didn’t really look at other interpretations or like characters before attempting to find my own.
Oli ~ “I just tried to feel my way through the character in order to portray him as less of an innately evil man that many presume him to be and explore his more relatable human aspects.”
Holly: Having studied the play in depth at A level, I already had a clear idea of how I see Medea as a character, and from reading around the play I knew that I needed to steer clear of a portrayal that sees her a mad, because she isn’t. You can see her thought process in every scene and she is entirely rational in her decisions, her pride in fact is overcome by her horror over what she is about to do. We see a very human side to her as well as an almost supernatural part of her and I think it is vital for me to portray bot aspects equally.
Would you say that ‘Medea’ is still relevant today, regarding Jason and Medea’s relationship?
Oli: Yes I’d say it is relevant. There is always going to be relationship drama between two individuals when love is involved, it’s a theme explored today in modern media, just as much as it was in the 4th century BC.
How would you say you have made the characters accessible for a modern audience?
Holly: Whilst (hopefully) no one in the audience might relate to her actions by the end of the play, I’m sure at least a few of them can understand her feelings of betrayal by Jason. She loved him and he abandoned her for another woman. I feel it is so important to highlight not only her anger with her husband, but also the sadness and shock she feels through her loss of their life together. I hope my portrayal of her will achieve at least some sympathy from the audience in the first portion of the performance, and allow them to see her as someone who is deeply hurt by Jason, instead of simply an angry child killer.