Blueprint Medea

by Julia Pascal

21 May - 8 June 2019

“If I am a virgin. If the enemy catch me. You know what they will do…”

The world premiere

★★★★ Close-Up Culture
★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★ Jewish Renaissance

Kurdish freedom fighter Medea escapes the Turkish military and arrives at UK Border Control on a forged passport. Slipping through immigration, Medea discovers how to exist on the margins of London life. Working illegally as a cleaner in a gym, she meets Jason-Mohammed, the son of Iraqi immigrants. Their attraction results in the birth of twin boys. Medea believes that she has finally found a new home, a new family and a new life.

But when Jason-Mohammed’s father decides that his son must marry Glauke, an Iraqi cousin, Medea realises that she will lose both her sons and her safe haven in the UK.

As her whole world falls apart, she is forced to accept that she has nothing to lose by revenging herself – destroying the lives who those who have betrayed her and keeping her sons’ spirits with her forever…

Based on interviews with Kurdish fighters living in the UK, and written and directed by the first woman ever to direct at the National Theatre, Blueprint Medea is an award-winning new drama loosely inspired by Euripides’ Medea, which connects the classical to the contemporary to explore eternal questions of passion, war, cultural identity, women’s freedom, sex, family and love.

About The Playwright and Director Julia Pascal

Playwright and director Julia Pascal trained and worked as an actor before coming to public attention as the first woman director at the National Theatre with Men Seldom Make Passes, her adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s writings, which ran for two years as a Platform Performance. She has directed new writing by Seamus Finnegan, Carole Rumens, Melanie Phillips and Yana Stajno. She directed Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker for the British Council. As Associate Director of The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, she directed works by Howard Brenton, Bertolt Brecht and Fay Weldon. 
Her plays have been seen internationally including France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Ireland and in New York City at the Lincoln Centre’s Director’s Lab and Theatre for the New City. Her plays include The Holocaust Trilogy –Theresa, A Dead Woman On Holiday and The Dybbuk (New End Theatre, Hampstead and European Tour), The Yiddish Queen Lear (Southwark Playhouse), Woman In The Moon (Arcola Theatre), The Golem (Purcell Room), St Joan (New End Theatre, Hampstead, Paris and Edinburgh Festival), Year Zero (Maubeuge, France, and The Junction, Cambridge), The Shylock Play (Arcola Theatre), Honeypot (New Diorama Theatre), Nineveh (Riverside Studios), an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Villette (The British Library), Crossing Jerusalem, commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre (Tricycle Theatre and Park Theatre) and Old Newland, commission and presented by Theatre Delicatessen. Her many awards include the Dan I Rodden Jr Play Award for Blueprint Medea; whilst Theresa won a BBC Alfred Bradley Prize and the radio version was nominated for the Sony Prize. Julia has been awarded the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Fellowship and grants from The European Association for Jewish Culture, The Leverhulme Trust as Writer in Residence at the Wiener Library, The Moondance Columbine Prize for Crossing Jerusalem, The Arts Council, The Oppenheim John-Downes Memorial Trust, 2000, The Goethe Institute and The Alfred Bradley Prize. Her texts are published by Oberon Books, Faber and Virago. She was awarded her PhD from the University of York in 2016. Currently she is a Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London, and teaches Dramatic Writing on City University’s MA course. Pascal Theatre Company is currently funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project Discovering and Documenting England’s Lost Jews.

The Press on Julia Pascal

“Exceptional.” The New York Times on The Dybbuk

“A viscerally potent drama of love, grief and death.” Time Out on The Dybbuk

“A dazzling cabaret that brings tears to the cheeks.” The Stage on Year Zero

“A tense and stirring piece of theatre.” The Times on Theresa

“Pascal has long interrogated Jewish attitudes and experiences without ever denigrating them. Here, too, she is even-handed. Israelis and Palestinians – all are subjected to the unblinking gaze of Pascal’s writing.” Times Higher Education Supplement on Crossing Jerusalem

“So organised in time and space that it acquires the kind of austere beauty and rhetorical tension we associate with the tragedies of Racine.” The Financial Times on A Dead Woman on Holiday

“The most astounding and affecting piece of new writing I have seen this year.” The Stage on Honeypot

“I’m moved and haunted by Nineveh. One can’t pay a play a greater compliment.” Lady Antonia Fraser

“An ambitious script where not a word is wasted.” The Stage on Nineveh

“Brave, intelligent and desperately moving.” The Guardian on Woman in the Moon

“This play is an affecting and eclectic treat.” Evening Standard on The Yiddish Queen Lear

The Press on Blueprint Medea

“A hard-hitting but compelling evening.” Robert Jackman, Spectator Life

“The play, written and directed by Julia Pascal – and enjoying its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre – is powerful fare.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“[Blueprint Medea] successfully spans vastly different worlds and cultural expectations all within the tiny intimate space that is the stage of the Finborough Theatre.” Dominica Plummer, The Spy in the Stalls

“Blueprint Medea is a multifaceted and complex drama, and is capable of making a connection with audiences wherever they may be.” Dominica Plummer, The Spy in the Stalls

“[Blueprint Medea] provides a powerful and hard-hitting female tale inspired by direct interviews with Kurdish freedom fighters, perfect for the intimacy and simplicity of fringe theatre.” Francis Nash, The Upcoming

“But there is more to this intriguing version than a straight transposition to a modern setting. The inspiration came from Pascal’s interview with a Kurdish refugee and also from the real life story of Asia Ramazan Antar and the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units, which aim to establish female independence as well as fighting for a Kurdish state.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“In Julia Pascal’s modern reconception of the ancient Greek tragedy, she is reborn as a former fighter for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)…It is an inspired transposition, and the themes of exile and female agency resonate in the modern day.” Arifa Akbar, The Guardian

“An engaging and dynamic production, admirable for its risk-taking and originality of vision.” Arifa Akbar, The Guardian

“A modern adaptation of Euripides’s devastating Greek tragedy, in which a scorned wife exacts bloody and heartbreaking revenge. Julia Pascal’s new version draws heavily on interviews with Kurds living in the UK and explores issues around immigration, cultural identity and female autonomy” Andrew Pulver, Michael Cragg, John Fordham, Andrew Clements, Jonathan Jones, Miriam Gillinson and Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian.

“The script becomes beautifully laced with Lorcaesque poetry.” Francis Nash, The Upcoming

“To have such a profound effect highlights the power and importance of fringe theatre and writers like Pascal providing a voice for these voiceless females onstage.” Francis Nash, The Upcoming

“The undeniable richness and power of the storytelling and performances.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Pascal’s writing style skilfully combines the demotic with the poetic.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“There is some exquisite singing – and along the way plenty of shrouds, guns and wedding headpieces. Indeed, the play fires into life when they are as one – either as Kurdish fighters under siege or as newcomers to the UK learning the English language.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Strong individual performances and moments of beautiful storytelling.” Emma Lamond, London Pub Theatres

“Tiran Aakel nearly tears up Kati Hind’s eye-catching set with an intense and savage performance.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Aakel is exceptional as Jason’s father.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Ruth D’Silva plays a striking and captivating Medea.” Emma Lamond, London Pub Theatres

“Ruth D’Silva is captivating as a passionate Medea.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Medea, played with integrity, passion and dignity by Ruth D’Silva.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“The cocksure and cavalier Jason (bullishly portrayed by Max Rinehart).” Francis Nash, The Upcoming

“Max Rinehart is perfect as the careless Jason Mohammed.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“A feisty Shaniaz Hama Ali.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Amanda Maud giving a moving performance.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“The muscular direction of Julia Pascal.” Dominica Plummer, The Spy in the Stalls

“James Peter Moffatt’s music and sound design intensifies the mood and atmosphere of an unflinching, unsettling drama.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“The Finborough Theatre is one of the gems of London’s theatre scene.” Robert Jackman, Spectator Life

The Press on the Online Release of Blueprint Medea

★★★★ Four stars, The Upcoming

“The Medea story repositioned once again to chime with our refugee-filled times…reminding us once again of a venue that continues to punch above its weight.” Matt Wolf, The Arts Desk

“This is not just one woman’s story but a reminder of the traumatisation of whole populations.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“The Medea of Euripides’s tragedy is refreshed in present-day London, with the weighty themes of exile, war and female oppression as boldly expressed as ever.” Georgia Howlett, The Upcoming 

Blueprint Medea does ask big questions about statelessness and the ways in which religious, national and cultural narratives of identity should and do shape our lives.” Maryam Philpott, The Reviews Hub 

Striking theatrical moments.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“A story of betrayal and a desperate manifestation of justice.” Georgia Howlett, The Upcoming 

“An ambitious and accomplished take on one of the great Greek tragedies.” Maryam Philpott, The Reviews Hub

“An energetic play, with devotion to its message. Pascal creatively weaves themes of political injustice into the story of a woman desperate to build ground in a new life which eventually fails her…a motivated statement resonating with modern issues.” Georgia Howlett, The Upcoming 

“A great idea, full of neat parallels…The fact that the characters aren’t kings and nobles but militia soldiers and cab drivers brings the story down to earth.” Laura de Lisle, The Arts Desk

“A committed portrayal by Ruth D’Silva.” Georgia Howlett, The Upcoming

“D’Silva is brilliant…all straining sinews and feral majesty.“ Laura de Lisle, The Arts Desk

“Ruth D’Silva has a glacial quality and despite the horrors she has experienced in her native land, her emotions remain in check…D’Silva builds the notion of betrayal and vengeance well.” Maryam Philpott, The Reviews Hub

“Smoothly choreographed dialogue and gesture speak of the cutthroat narratives of a woman’s life in the KWP, and are placed effectively to dramatise Medea’s downward spiral.” Georgia Howlett, The Upcoming

21 May - 8 June 2019

Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm
Sunday 3:00pm

90 minutes with no interval