Medea Tonight, I attended a beautiful performance of Medea (a greek tragedy written by Euripides) by Yayoi Theatre Movement.

“Yayoi Theatre Movement produces and presents work that blends traditional Japanese dance and theatre with telling contemporary and modern narratives.” (Yayoi Theatre Movement website)

Their latest production, Medea, mixes Noh theatre (with its wooden carved masks and lavish costumes) and puppetry.

Medea tells the story of a woman who killed her own brother and fled her country, after having committed treason, for the love of Jason. As they flee to Greece, Medea is deceived by her husband Jason who weds a younger woman, the daughter of King Creon


The play opens with the guttural weeping of Medea (played beautifully by Yayoi Hirano). Then the Nurse, played by Donna Yamamoto, shares with us her anxiety regarding her mistress’ behaviour: something is up. Medea is jealous and is planning a terrible vengeance.

Indeed, Medea plans to go after what Jason loves the most: his new bride and the two beautiful children Medea and Jason had together.

The transformation-dance of Medea into a she-devil was very well done.


At the end, Jason (played by Peter Hall who also plays King Creon) can only weep as Medea, carrying the lifeless body of their two children, flees on a dragon.

It was the first time I saw a Noh performance. The Noh masks are quite small. They rest on the actors’ face instead of surrounding their face like our western masks (although you can’t really see how small the masks are on the photos).

The Noh masks only cover a small part of the actors face (from mid-forehead to just under the mouth), which I thought would impair their speech, but it didn’t. The audience could hear the actors clearly.


The two children-size puppets ran and moved with so much realism, you could swear they were real children. The movement of the puppets looked realistic, especially when the children were picked up by the Nurse or Medea, crawling into their arms like they were real children.

Most dialogues were in English, including the chorus of women (singing from the balcony or the left of the stage).  However, to illustrate Medea’s alienation, being a foreign woman in a foreign land, she was speaking in Japanese, then in broken English to her children.

I really enjoyed Medea and look forward to seeing the next project from Yayoi Theatre Movement.

The performance was 60 minutes and took place at the Orpheum Annex. Tickets cost only $20, which was a real bargain for such a great show.


2 thoughts on “Medea

  1. I enjoyed this review very much, Jessica.

    I sent one of your lovely origami cards to a close friend who lives in Florida for her birthday and she loved it. She is a multi-talented artist (acrylic, oils, watercolor, photography) and also Sumi-e. I am planning to go visit her in March for the opening of a solo show of some of her abstract paintings at the Gadsen County Art Society. She was selected for this three years ago ( they plan very far out with their exhibitions.)

    So glad to have met you and visited with you in hot Springs.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Leta

    Sent from my iPad


    • Thanks Leta.
      I enjoy Japanese art and culture. What a pleasure to see Medea (a fabulous show) and learn about Noh!
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the origami cards and sending them to friends. That’s fantastic!
      Happy Thanksgiving!

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