Korean theatre company gives classic Greek tragedy a radical reinterpretation for the 21st century
An enduring Greek tragedy is reimagined for the 21st century, infused with pop culture touchpoints and steeped in social media obsessiveness. In a wildly original take on an ancient tale, “Medea” is recast as a commentary on contemporary media and presented in outrageous settings, including talk show stages, action movies, melodrama, cartoons, and an Instagrammable yoga class.
The Moss Arts Center presents the U.S. premiere of “MEDEA on Media,” by Seoul, Korea-based innovative contemporary theatre company Seongbukdong Beedoolkee Theatre, with two performances on Wednesday, Nov. 8, and Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m.
Performed in Korean with English supertitles, the performances will be held on the stage of the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre in the Street and Davis Performance Hall. Recommended for ages 14 and up, the play contains adult language, mature themes, and the use of gun props. A non-tobacco cigarette is smoked briefly.
In Euripides’ tale, Medea is a princess who seeks revenge after her husband, Jason, leaves her for another woman and she and her children are banished from the city where they live. Medea eventually murders Jason's new wife, as well as her own two sons, before escaping.
“MEDEA on Media,” which finds Medea as she draws near to the murders, explores the potential influences today’s media could have had, configuring them into different channels and presenting them to the audience like a studio version of a television program.
With plenty of physicality and a dash of silliness, “MEDEA on Media” is also clever and profound, spotlighting the dangerous effects of media consumption while encouraging the harmonious coexistence of media and society. Led by director Kim Hyuntak, Seongbukdong Beedoolkee Theatre freely deconstructs the texts of both well-known masterpieces and modern Korean dramas to recreate them, incorporating contemporary social issues. Often, the company's performances incorporate different theatrical styles depending on the material and topic, such as dance theatre, melodramatic film, or physical theatre, and most include active audience participation.
Related engagement events
Members of Seongbukdong Beedoolkee Theatre will visit a Virginia Tech theatre arts class to discuss their interpretations of Euripides’ “Medea” and approach to adapting the classic play, while Artistic Director Kim Hyuntak will speak with English students in an introduction to critical reading course about the ensemble's radical reimagination of the Greek tragedy. Hyuntak and cast members will also share their personal and professional journeys with Virginia Tech students at a learning lunch at the APIDA+ Center.
Tickets for the performance are $30 for general admission and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
Venue and parking information
The performances will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall. Convenient parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street and in downtown Blacksburg. Find more parking details online.
If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email email@example.com during regular business hours.
Support for the performance
“MEDEA on Media” is co-presented with the Korean Cultural Center New York to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ROK-U.S. Alliance. This program is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea and the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange as part of the Traveling Korean Arts Project.