Why adapt Medea? What drew you to the myth? What was the impetus to rework it?
I guess your question would stretch so far as to 'why adapt anything?'. Why not just always try to write original material? I guess the answer is 'inspiration' in some sense. I get inspired all the time, by many things from all different mediums or just out in the world. That doesn't mean I always want to do 'my' version of that thing but it does on occasion. I don't know why sometimes I see something and think that would be a good remake or it could easily be adapted into the present day or would make a strong American movie or television show or play. That said, sometimes I feel moved that way, or 'inspired'. 'Medea' comes from a handful of very classic myths that have inspired countless generations to either perform that work or find some new way to tackle it and try to understand it. That's what happened with me, not just once but twice. I also wrote a short play called 'Helter Skelter' which deals with this same myth but in a very different modern scenario and with quite a different outcome. Take a look if you get the chance.
medea redux is such a brutal reworking - how did you hit upon that particular angle/approach to the myth and the character?
First person is such a beautiful way into a character, to hear what they're thinking or at least what they want to reveal to us as an audience. It's a rich thing for an actor to play and it can be quite beautiful to listen to as well if the language is right so that's what I concentrated on, getting it right. I love that all the action takes place offstage, just as it did when 'Medea' was originally presented (although in this case that is because it's all in the past). I took this approach because I wanted to do a series of monologues or duologues that used the myths as touchstones to tell modern morality tales.
I love the way the power relationship from the myth translates into something so taboo between Medea and Jason - what was your intention with that?
At the time I wrote the stories in 'Bash' sexual harassment was being talked about on campuses and in the workplace and this seemed like a great way to tackle that very current issue but filtered through a classical sensibility. I like to write with a sense of the future -- believing that my plays will have some resonance in the future as well and not just work in the moment that were created. As for the taboo: I think killing a child will always be something that is outside the belief system of societies as a whole and I'm sure people were as surprised in Ancient Greece by Medea and her behaviour as they are today by the actions of the young woman in my play.
Why should contemporary audiences relate to or care about Medea, classically or reworked?
Because she's human. She's a woman and a wife and a mother and she's going through a great deal of rage and pain and despair. Most adults can relate to this. Is she a witch as well? Perhaps. Is she the daughter of a king? I suppose so. All of those things, however, are trappings that matter less than the general facts that she is a person and therefore someone that I can have empathy or sympathy for (depending on my own history). Most of the stories that came out of the Ancient Greek tradition are cut from this same cloth: we are moved by them because they happen to people who could easily end up being you or me or our next door neighbours.
How do you relate to her as a character? Particularly with the act of killing her child?
I relate. I have children and I can remember when they were young and I was dead tired from working and getting up with them in the middle of the night, you can get to a place where you're not in your own head or right mind. And that's just everyday living! This woman has been pushed to the brink and then over the edge and she makes a choice that I don't want to believe I could ever make but is it a human choice, one that people have been making over and over during the last few thousand years? Absolutely yes. She is not a monster. She is a mother.
How do you relate to Jason? Especially given he's taken off stage, only related through Medea?
Of course I relate to Jason -- I'm a man and Jason is a dipshit and makes mistakes and tries to play both side of things and then fix things when it's too late. I get it. If anything, we get to see less of him and hear less of his side of things so I think he gets a bit of short shrift in the dramatic sense but I understand the man and the character and even his actions. Love is a funny thing and helps us make some wonderful and horrible choices. I wish Jason was onstage more because I find him interesting and I hold him responsible for a lot of the woe created in that play but do I think he's a fairly well represented and depicted character? I'm afraid I do.