Screaming Body – Découpage Collective

The Medea of Euripides is a story of love, of life, of murder and of how all three interlink. This classic Greek tale has been revived and modernised by Découpage Collective in their retelling of the tragedy. Screaming Body is a play which, despite some shortcomings, succeeds in justifying the actions of Medea to a modern audience.

Découpage Collective succeeded in both modernising this Classic by Euripides and in justifying the actions of Medea

In the ancient myth, Medea is in love with Jason of the Argonauts, while in this re-telling, Jason is an English man with electrifying blue eyes. Immediately, the women who are portraying Medea fall in love. Léa Richard and Lucy Callagher collectively tell this story, both embodying the role of Medea and physically portraying the other characters in this tragedy. They are hauntingly capable of performing powerfully, and they complement each other well. They do, unfortunately, have some issues with projection, making it difficult to hear some of the quieter moments. The decision for Richard to both speak and sing in French at some points is a brave one, yet it doesn’t seem as though she is fully committed to this decision herself as it is so difficult to hear her at these points.

Director Marie-Laure Hay has re-created this story beautifully. The use of lights from torches and LEDs under sheets and pillows is incredible, adding eeriness and magic to this dark, ancient myth. However, some of her directorial decisions are questionable. The actors rely too heavily on props; using more blankets than necessary, pouring undrunk glasses of wine and cleaning themselves off with baby wipes. Their reliance on props to undermines their competence and ability to fill the space with their characters, a feat of which both Richard and Callagher are more than capable.

The highlight of this performance was the music by which it was interspersed. Composer Holly Khan uses a loop pedal while strumming and playing on her viola to again juxtapose classical and modern art forms. Her music created a melancholic, evocative soundtrack to this tragic myth, and in moments when her music was not playing the silence sang out, heightening moments of tension.

Overall, Découpage Collective succeeded in both modernising this Classic by Euripides and in justifying the actions of Medea to an audience with their performance of Screaming Body. It could, however, benefit from more confidence from the performers both in their words and their actions. They have a relevant story to tell, and should be telling it with pride.

Reviews by Angela O'Callaghan

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The Blurb

Screaming Body has been created by the two performers Léa Richard and Lucy Callagher, director Marie-Laure Hay and composer Holly Khan. As an ensemble, we are striving to recreate the original story of Medea with intimacy and immediacy, visually translating the tale through physical illustrations and through a playful, yet profound relationship between the two performers who remain present together throughout the duration of the piece.