Classic Cuts: Medea
Paddy Cunneen is fast cementing a reputation as the king of lunchtime theatre. Following recent A Play, a Pie and a Pint successes Fleeto and Waltz of the Cold Wind his affiliation with Oran Mor continues with this year’s Classic Cuts season, for which he’s adapted the opener, Euripides’ Medea, reduced to just 45 minutes.
The series aims to offer digested adaptations of classic plays, and Cunneen’s Medea will be followed by Lady Windermere’s Fan, Cyrano de Bergerac and Romeo and Juliet. Cunneen – who shrank King Lear for last year’s season – is enthusiastic about the effect these distillations may leave on their audiences. ‘Forty-five minutes is just long enough to get the job done but it doesn’t make phenomenal demands on the attention span,’ he says. ‘I think it’s a great way of inducting an audience into a whole classic cannon.’
What’s more, he seems undaunted by the task of adapting Euripides’ tragedy, in which Medea kills her children in revenge for her husband’s betrayal – an action that Cunneen believes is commensurate with the injustices inflicted upon her. Indeed, Cunneen’s interpretation of the play gives it an unmistakably contemporary ring, one that might convince many disbelievers of Greek drama’s undying relevance.
‘Look at various conflicts in the world at the moment where there is a disproportionate response to aggression,’ he says. ‘The play asks us: how far should we go when we feel aggrieved? And how far are we entitled to go in seeking retribution?’
Oran Mor, Glasgow, Mon 1–Sat 6 Jun