Jasmin Vardimon: 'The myth of Medusa has been used throughout history to silence strong women'
- Kelly Apter
- 18 February 2019
Choreographer's new work takes its inspiration from the Greek myth
Ask most people to describe the Greek myth of Medusa, and chances are eyes that turn you to stone and a serious case of snake hair will be their response. Lost to all but those who study further, is the reason for her anti-social behaviour: being raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple, with the latter turning Medusa's hair and face into weapons.
'There are lots of interpretations,' says choreographer Jasmin Vardimon, whose new work takes its inspiration from the myth. 'Was Athena punishing her out of jealousy, or was it to protect Medusa so it wouldn't happen again?' Either way, Poseidon walked away scot-free: something Vardimon was keen to address. 'One of the intriguing things is that this section of the story is almost forgotten. And in the #MeToo era, I felt it was the right time to re-imagine it, because victims being accused or punished is something that still happens.'
Seeing posters of Hillary Clinton depicted as Medusa during the 2016 US presidential election spurred Vardimon on. 'I found that the myth of Medusa has been used throughout history to silence strong women,' she says. 'And they're always presented as monsters, rather than victims.' Creating the work in Barcelona by the sea, Vardimon also reflected on the fact that jellyfish (known as 'medusas' in many languages) are said to be one of the only creatures likely to survive global warming. 'I wasn't interested in just re-telling the story,' she explains. 'It's a poetic reflection on the myth but with wider social and environmental connotations.'
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 21 Feb.