Theatre and storytelling is in our DNA. We crave stories, we want to be excited, shocked, bewildered and stimulated.
Theatre is the thrill of the live performance, the buzz that cannot be found onscreen. And, we are told as writers that all drama must have conflict.
Football is theatre. Monarchy is theatre. Bodies are cut in the operating theatre. Combat is a theatre of war. All these elements are part of our lives and, in the West, we say it is the Greeks who have formed the essence of theatre that is still our source.
Here is my take on a contemporary Medea, a Kurdish refugee on the London streets. It was produced at the Finborough Theatre in 2019.
(to the children)
Look at you. My sons. In your little bed. Your tiny bodies. Let me touch your sweet faces. Your skin is hot. Why are you hot?
And your little dicks standing up to make two tiny tents in the bed.
You are just like all the men with the stand-up dicks.
(She sings. She stops.)
And you will be strong men, very strong. I will take you with me. You, who lived and breathed inside me. You tasted me. You are me. And inside me, you could smell the heat of the desert and feel the sting of the scorpion.
Do you know about your father? You came out of him too. The man who has thrown your mother into the street.
But you are not part of him. After what he has done, he has no right. You are mine. You have known me nine months with every pulse-throb.
Only it is not just me making your heart, your liver, your balls.
It is all the mothers. Thousands and thousands of wombs. The women, all the women. From the start of time. You belong to them. Not to me. The Turks, do you know what they made us Kurds do to the Armenians. Your great-grandfather ‘the king of Armenia’. Do you know what they made us do? With shovels and axes?
(She sings louder as she kills her sons.)