Medea, Written in Rage
Medea, Written in Rage: What the audience thought of premier at The Place
The stage is set for a gig - a microphone, a bank of speakers, smoke hanging in the air. A figure in an extraordinary gown emerges from the shadows. This is Medea – returned to tell us her version of events.
This startling, contemporary reimagining of the ancient Greek legend of passion and revenge, written by Jean-René Lemoine, casts Medea as the ultimate outsider, a stranger in a foreign land, filled with rage. Her monologue transports us from ancient Greece to modern Europe and back again in a provocative, blood-soaked collage of performance, opera, and sexual confession. The performer, dancer, and vocalist, François Testory fuses his extraordinary physicality and androgynous, unique stage presence to bring to life the murderous Medea in this evocative lament, featuring live music by acclaimed composer and music producer, Phil Von.
The Creative Team
JEAN-RENÉ LEMOINE – PLAYWRIGHT
Jean René Lemoine is a Haitian-French playwright, theatre director and actor born in Haiti in 1959 and based in Paris since 1989. His artistic training began at the Conservatoire of Dramatic Art in Paris and then at the Mudra school of Maurice Béjart in Brussels and continued at the Institute of Theatrical Studies at Censier in Paris. After a career as an actor and performer with companies such as Lindsay Kemp’s, he worked as an assistant at the Union des Théâtres de l’Europe, based at the Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe. He also collaborated on a regular basis with the Académie Expérimentale des Théâtres. His Médée, poème enragé (Medea, an Enraged Poem) was first staged in March 2014 at MC93 and opens late in 2016 at the Théâtre National de Strasbourg. Jean-René Lemoine has dedicated himself principally to writing since 1985; his numerous published works include Compte-rendu d’un vertige (novel) as well as numerous texts for theatre: Iphigénie, Portrait d’un couple, Chimères, L’Ode à Scarlett O’Hara, Ecchymose, Face a la Mere, Atlantis, L’Odeur du noir, Erzuli Dahomey, Le Voyage vers Grand-Rivière, and Comédie Française.
NEIL BARTLETT – DIRECTOR AND TRANSLATOR
Neil Bartlett’s most recent work as author and director includes a highly successful run of his version of Camus’ The Plague at The Arcola in spring 2017, Stella (LIFT, Brighton Festival, Holland Festival 2016); in music-theatre, his most recent work was his staging of the Britten Canticles for Ian Bostridge and Iestyn Davies (Aldeburgh, Brighton, ROH, 2015). As a performer, his most recent work was a marathon six-hour reading of the Oscar Wild’s De Profundis for Artangel at Reading Gaol. His numerous translations of contemporary and classical French drama include Stephane Olry’s Here Be Lions (Theatre of Europe), and Racine’s Bérénice for the National Theatre.
FRANCOIS TESTORY – MEDEA
François Testory’s most recent creation Empire was staged at The Place. He collaborated with Lindsay Kemp in many memorable performances including Flowers, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Big Parade. As a performer with other of Europe’s most innovative companies, his most recent work has been with DV8, Punch Drunk, Rambert Dance Company, and Gecko. As a vocalist, his most recent work has been with Graindelavoix, an early music collective from Antwerp, experimenting between the fields of music, performance, and creation. He also collaborated extensively as a vocalist with cult electro-bands Laniakia and Coil.
PHIL VON – MUSIC COMPOSITION & PERFORMANCE
Phil Von (Philippe Fontez) is a singer, composer and electronic musician as well as flamenco dancer. Phil Von is the co-leader of the performance group Von Magnet (1985/2017) which he initiated in London and which performed at the ICA, LIFT Festival, Almeida Theatre, and the National Review of Live Arts in Glasgow. Von Magnet invented their own “Electro-Flamenco” style which unfolded through the years, both on record (12 albums released on various labels) and on stage (different live performances and tours around Europe in festivals, theatres, concert halls and museums).
Under his own name, Phil Von has composed and performed with major ballet and dance companies in Germany (Berlin, Kiel, Dessau, Stuttgart), written various soundtracks for visual arts, contemporary dance, and theatre plays as well as directed performance pieces for young companies in France, Portugal, Morocco, and Turkey. He has been lead composer and performer for the last twelve years with physical and street theatre companies such as Materia Prima, Do Theatre, Underclouds, Entre Terre et Ciel, U-Structure Nouvelle.
In contemporary music, he has composed a piece for double string quartet + electronics for Art Zoyd and the Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles in Brussels, and was commissioned to write Groundscape by the G.R.M (Group of Musical Research) in Paris and Montpellier, which he co-wrote with Mimetic.
MR PEARL – COSTUME
Mr Pearl is a world-renowned corsetier, has a background in stage design, costume and fashion. He designed costumes and sets for Matthew Hawkins, including Fresh Dances for the Late Tchaikovsky (1993 – Dance Umbrella/Hackney Empire), Dancing Attendance on the Cultural Chasm (1995 – Rambert Dance Company), Angels and Exiles (2000 – Royal Opera House/Clore Studio Theatre) and Silent Rhythms (2004 – Jerwood Choreography Prize). Mr Pearl realised designs by Leigh Bowery for Michael Clark’s Because We Must (Sadler’s Wells 1988) and I am Curious Orange (Holland Festival 1989) as well as Bowery’s own costume wardrobe (1988 – 1993). He has also realised numerous corsets and gowns for Parisian Haute Couture with designers Thierry Mugler, Christian Lacroix, Jean-Paul Gaultier and others and created foundation and stagewear for burlesque star Dita von Teese and performance artist Rose English. His personal archive (catalogued by students of Central St Martins UAL) is held at London’s Somerset House. Examples of his stage and fashion work are in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and New York’s Metropolitan Museum.
Chahine Yavroyan – Lighting Design
As well as theatre, opera and dance, Chahine Yavroyan has lit objects, clothes, buildings, shows in back rooms of pubs as well as on international main stages, site-specific work indoors and outdoors. Previous work with Frauke: Jammy Dodgers, Roadkill Café, Episodes.
Other dance work with Jasmin Vardimon, Arthur Pita, Bock & Vincenzi, Stopgap Dance, Yolande Snaith Theatredance, Walkerdance, Rosemary Lee, Ricochet, Candoco, Dog Kennel Hill Project, Hofesh Shechter, Lea Anderson, Kate Brown, Anatomy Dance, Colin Poole, Naheed Saddiqui.
Theatre work includes Let The Right One In (NTS/international), Amedée (Birmingham Rep), Anything That Gives Off Light (NTS/The TEAM), A Soldier in Every Son, Marat/Sade, Measure for Measure (RSC), countless People Shows, etc.
Music credits include Cold Calling:The Arctic Project (CBSO), Diamanda Galas (international), Mahler Symphony No 8 (LPO at RFH), Jocelyn Pook, Operashots (Linbury Studio ROH), Streetwise Opera, XX Scharnhorst (HMS Belfast).
Jules Millard – Production Manager
Jules Millard is a dedicated theatre professional. Since starting at the Oxford Playhouse as a lighting and sound technician in the 1970s he has covered most backstage roles including company, stage, production and technical management. Recently touring for Tall Stories with The Gruffalo’s Child in the UK and with The Gruffalo at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue and in Singapore.
Nelson Fernandez – Producer
Nelson is a senior arts producer and cultural consultant with working experience as an artist, producer, management trainer, and facilitator with many organisations in the fields of drama, dance, opera, museums, visual arts, and the creative industries in the UK and around the world.
In 1997, after working as a dance artist with companies in the UK, Europe, and North America (such as Koln Tanz Forum, Ballet Rambert, Louis Falco, Balletto del Sole, Lindsay Kemp, Jane Dudley, Glyndebourne, and English National Opera) and later as an independent arts producer (working with companies and artists like the National Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Dance Umbrella, Thamesdown Dance Agency, Wendy Houstoun, and Rosemary Butcher), he joined the British Council and was seconded to Visiting Arts, a UK government agency which supports artistic exchange between the UK and the rest of the world.
Under his directorship, NFA international Arts and Culture has produced highly successful UK tours of international theatre companies, such as Hamlet the Clown Prince by the Cinematograph Company from Mumbai and collaborated with Watford Palace Theatre on the UK premiere of My Hamlet, featuring the Fingers Puppet Theatre of Tbilisi and Linda Marlowe. In addition, he has acted as International Producer for Scottish Dance Theatre since 2009, producing tours and collaborative projects for the company in China, India, Dubai, Romania, South Korea, the US, Italy, Mexico, and Brazil. He is presently producing the company’s next visits to China and Cuba in 2018. In 2017, Nelson is the UK Producer for the India@UK 2017 Festival.
Lia Prentaki – Producer
Lia studied Drama in her native Athens before coming to the UK to study Dance and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham and then at London Contemporary Dance School. Lia has worked extensively as a dancer, movement director, dance educator and producer. Since 2005 Lia has been part of The Place initially in the learning and participation department and currently as one of the producers in the Theatre team. In a freelance capacity Lia has over the last few years worked as a Project Manager, Producer and Creative Consultant with a varied portfolio of independent dance artists such as Kate Flatt, Zoi Dimitriou, Hannes Langolf, Subathra Subramaniam, Moxie Brawl, Shane Shambhu and Rick Nodine amongst others. Has had a developing relationship with Bloomsbury Festival since 2006 and has recently produced the participatory stage of Step Out Store Street in 2016 and currently producing Sing Out Store Street in Collaboration with Bill Gee. In 2014 she was funded by The Arts Council of England to produce Move Hitchin, a day long Festival of dance, in public spaces and stores in her locality. Since 2015 Lia has been working with interdisciplinary Cambridge based company 30 Bird, delivering projects such as the British Council Funded Junctures in March 2015 and the HOME in the Service of Science, which was the culmination of the company year-long residency at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. It was in Junctures 2015 that Lia had the chance to first meet and work with Nelson Fernandez and has since developed a relationship with NFA international Arts and Culture and as a result has become one of the company’s Associate Producers.
The Corner Shop – PR
The Corner Shop opened in 2007. It was founded by Ben Chamberlain, Ryan Petersen and Clair Chamberlain. Over 10 years, the company has built an enviable reputation and has grown beyond their imaginings. The team now works across offices in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff and is a talented, dedicated and creative bunch of people.
Makes Three – Marketing
Mark Slaughter of Makes Three, began his career in PR & marketing roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Bush Theatre and Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company. He was an Account Handler for the West End marketing and advertising agency McCabes, and has been working as a freelance Marketing Consultant and Campaign Manager since 1998.
Mark’s previous & current clients include: BalletBoyz, Shared Experience, English Touring Theatre, The Almeida, Donmar, Young Vic, Royal Court (as Acting Head of Marketing), Out of Joint, Paines Plough, STOMP, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Theatre on Tour and Creative Cow. He has also worked as a Tutor on the Arts Administration course at City Lit, London.
Manuel Vason – Photography
Manuel Vason’s artistic practice explores the relationship between photography and performance, presence and representation. He considers the capturing of a moment as an act of creation, a ritual towards the illusion of immortality, and an exchange between who is in front and who is behind the camera. The collaborative nature of his practice shapes a unique, hybrid art form and generates new vocabularies. His collaborations to date have produced some of the most iconic images of performance and his work has been published and presented internationally.
Vason was born in Padua, Italy in 1974. He became interested in photography while working in a black and white professional darkroom. After having assisted some of the most celebrated fashion photographers of his generation in Milan, New York, Paris, London and Los Angeles, he pursued a Masters degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. Double Exposures is Vason’s fifth book. It follows: Oh Lover Boy! (2001), a two-year collaboration with artist Franko B; Exposures (2002), exploring the body in Live Art; Encounters (2007), which complemented his first solo exhibition at Arnolfini, Bristol; and Still Image Moving a self published project commissioned by In Between Time Festival (2010). In 2012 he presented STILL_MÓVIL, a traveling exhibition of ‘co-creations’ with 45 choreographers from South America. In 2014 he launched the Double Exposures book project at The Photographers Gallery and Tate Britain in London. In 2015, Vason received a grant from Arts Council England for his latest project titled The PhotoPerformer. Vason continues to develop a practice that integrates different media and forms of collaboration.
Example Name, Role
MARLBOROUGH THEATRE, BRIGHTON
28 – 30 SEPTEMBER | 7.30PM
Tickets can be purchased from the pub with no booking fee – cash only
THE PLACE, LONDON
5 – 7 OCTOBER | 8PM
020 7121 1100
11 OCTOBER | 7.30PM
01223 511 511
NORWICH ARTS CENTRE
18 OCTOBER | 8PM
PAVILION DANCE, BOURNEMOUTH
20 OCTOBER | 7.30PM
HULL TRUCK THEATRE
24 & 25 OCTOBER | 8PM
LANCASTER ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER
31 OCTOBER | 8PM
HOMOTOPIA AT UNITY THEATRE, LIVERPOOL
1 NOVEMBER | 7.30PM
0151 709 4988
BIRMINGHAM, REPERTORY THEATRE
17 & 18 NOVEMBER | 7.45PM
0121 236 4455