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Curtain Up: Love Gone Really Wrong


By Jennifer Margulis

Published Oct 1, 2009 8:00 AM


A new interpretation of Euripides's tragedy, Medea, is the first-ever original theater production to be produced by UCLA Live, and it makes its worldwide premier September 18 with a powerful headliner: three-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening (The Grifters, American Beauty). The play, directed by Lenka Udovicki, is based on a 1995 gut-wrenching translation of the play by Frederic Raphael and Kenneth McLeish and is accompanied by an original Persian and Western musical score created just for this production by British composer Nigel Osborne.

Medea tells the heartbreaking story of a foreign woman who comes to Corinth, Greece, with her beloved husband Jason after helping him steal the Golden Fleece. Grudgingly accepted by the Corinthians though considered a foreigner (she's referred to as both a witch and a barbarian in the play), Medea is rejected by a husband who cares more about his own social status than he does about his family. Jason turns away from his faithful wife to bed and wed the king of Corinth's daughter and become one of the most powerful men in the city. And that's just how the play starts.

"I'm amazed by the deep insight Euripides had in analyzing society as a whole, and how nothing has changed in the relationships between men and women, husbands and wives," says Croatian director Udovicki. "I can hardly think of another playwright who creates a female character in such incredible depth. It's so layered."

Udovicki, a successful theater and opera director in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, brings a whole-theater approach to the production, creating a stage, lighting, and original music to enhance the play's script. For example, to underscore Medea's foreignness and status as an outsider, the music that accompanies her is played in a Persian modality.

Medea. September 18-October 18. Freud Playhouse. Tickets: $80 to $110. To order or for more information, call (310) 825-2101 or visit by