Greek Tragedy
  • By Mella Faye
  • |
  • 11th Aug 2022
  • |
  • Edinburgh Fringe

We last came to the Fringe in 2019 with our take on Medea. That’s the one where she kills her kids. This time it’s the one where he kills his dad and has sex with his mum.

It seems like a rare delight to dive into the murky world of the female psyche

With plot points like that, it’s no surprise that we’re still retelling these stories more than 2000 years on.

For all our ‘free thinking’ we are each carefully navigating our self-identity based upon a set of rules. A set of rules that have been in production for thousands of years.

Thou must not murder. Thou art a freak if you ever daydream about killing your spouse, or fucking your brother. We know that these unspeakable impulses exist because parents are still abusing their children. Husbands are murdering wives.

Leaders of countries still justify wars.

But that’s them, not us….right?

Our conditioned human brains quickly filter out our feral nature. Our wildness.

Why? Maybe because of our need to belong, to be loved.

We want to be accepted by our constructed ‘society’, so we censor ourselves, often without any awareness that we’re doing it. If we slip up, and say or do something inappropriate, we feel the burn of shame. Shame is the weapon of self-flagellation that keeps us in line with the rules.

So thank the many gods that WE HAVE THEATRE. A safe space to stick our fingers up at the rules, to open Pandora’s box.

Whenever I am making work, I’m mind blown by all the people involved, all the hours, and money and discarded ideas. All this investment is poured in, so that we can attempt to pull apart the tangled threads of what it really means to be human. To allow us to sit in the dark and witness our weaknesses and our desires played out before us so that we might understand what and who we are. And if you want to aim for the extreme version of that, Greek tragedy goes right to the bullseye.

When I’m adapting one of these massive stories, my drive is to find out what makes it personal. I want to use the fuel of my own feral nature, my own shame and vulnerability to make something that will feel as relevant to an audience now, as a Sophocles or Euripides production would have all those years ago. It’s really hard. I’ve wrangled over this script and this production for what feels like an eternity.

And I am a woman. In my 40’s. A mother. A wife. So this version of Oedipus belongs mostly to Jocasta. We are accustomed to having the male feral nature explored in theatre, literature and film, but still, it seems like a rare delight to dive into the murky world of the female psyche. Fictional older women are denied a lot of fun in the dark playground of the soul.

As its unveiling approaches I’m feeling all those familiar feelings; shame, anxiety, vulnerability. I’d love to hide in my room and miss the train to Edinburgh. But I can’t. I’m making a Greek tragedy… so I have to run toward those feelings, not away from them.

Into the fire.

See you there.

Related Listings

Oedipus Electronica

Oedipus Electronica

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Articles by Mella Faye

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