Medea

About the Creator

Euripides (Playwright), ca. 480–406 B.C.E., was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles). Ancient scholars thought that Euripides had written ninety-five plays, although four of those were probably written by Critias. Eighteen of Euripides' plays have survived complete. Fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays also survive. Euripides is known primarily for having reshaped the formal structure of Athenian tragedy by portraying strong female characters and intelligent slaves and by satirizing many heroes of Greek mythology. His plays seem modern by comparison with those of his contemporaries, focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way previously unknown to Greek audiences. Euripides' greatest works include Alcestis, Medea, Trojan Women, and The Bacchae. Also considered notable is Cyclops, the only complete satyr play to have survived.

About the Director

SHAWN KAIRSCHNER (Director/Sound Designer) has performed and directed in numerous venues in the United States and in Europe. Favorite acting roles include Berowne in Love's Labours Lost, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and Antonio Vivaldi in Theresa Bassoon. He is proud to have been in the first cast of American actors to perform at the new Globe Theatre, Southwark, London. As a director, he has worked on both coasts, including a three-year stint as the Artistic Director of the Sideway Theater Company in Berkeley, CA, where he directed or produced a variety of pieces from Shakespearean comedies to original one-person shows. For Villanova Theatre, he most recently helmed last Spring's production of Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses. Other directorial credits include The Caucasian Chalk Circle in Williamstown, MA and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D.

Press Release

Villanova Theatre Mounts a Masterful MEDEA!

This February, Villanova Theatre presents - Euripides' Medea, directed by Villanova Professor Shawn Kairschner, who directed Villanova's wildly popular Metamorphoses last season. The aesthetic of the production evokes elements of the late-1950s and early-1960s, with costumes by Marla Jurglanis, set by Lisi Stossel, and lighting by Jerold R. Forsyth. Medea will be on stage February 2-14, 2010.

Villanova Theatre is located in Vasey Hall on the Villanova University campus.  Performances will be held at 8:00pm on Tuesday – Saturday and at 2:00pm on Sundays. Tickets cost $20-$24, with discounts available for seniors, students, and groups, and may be ordered through the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474 or online at www.theatre.villanova.edu.

Medea is a scorching tale of passion, love, and vengeance. When her husband, Jason, is granted permission to marry another woman, Medea is banished from her home and sent away from her young children.  Unhinged by grief, she lays plans for swift and terrible retribution, leaving catastrophe in her wake.  A towering figure in Greek tragedy, Medea remains an enthralling character centuries after her creation.

Though many productions paint Medea as a witch and a sorceress, director Shawn Kairschner considered it essential that she be a sympathetic character: "It's important to me that the audience can feel for Medea," he says, "and that they know her ultimate decision is very difficult for her. I want it to be evident that she commits her act of revenge against her husband knowing full well that it will rip her heart out.  With influence from the Chorus – five strong women who intervene actively in the action of the play – Medea rewrites her own history and, in keeping with the male heroic tradition, is rewarded for her actions. I think that's what makes so many people think of Medea as a 'feminist' play."

Shawn Kairschner has performed and directed in numerous venues in the United States and in Europe. As an actor, his favorite roles include Berowne in Love's Labours Lost and Vivaldi in Theresa Bassoon. He is proud to have been in the first cast of American actors to perform at the new Globe Theatre, Southwark, London. As a director, he has worked on both coasts, including a three-year stint as the Artistic Director of the Sideway Theater Company in Berkeley, CA, where he directed or produced a variety of pieces from Shakespearean comedies to original one-person shows. For Villanova Theatre, he directed last year's production of Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, as well as productions of Shakespeare's The Tempest and Brecht's Mother Courage. Other recent directorial credits include The Caucasian Chalk Circle in Williamstown, MA and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D.

The 15-person cast of Medea features 11 current students and one graduate of Villanova's M.A. in Theatre program, one Villanova faculty member, and two children.  Kim Fairbanks, who entered the program this fall with numerous area and off-Broadway acting credits, will play Medea.

The Villanova University Theatre Department was inaugurated in 1958 under the leadership of Dr. Dick Duprey.  Today, Villanova's Theatre Department offers both a Master of Arts degree and a Graduate Certificate in Practical Theatre.  Students enrolled in the theatre program undergo a course of study that combines both scholarly and practical approaches to theatre.  Guided by award-winning faculty and staff who are actively involved in the region's professional theatre industry, students gain knowledge and experience through hands-on production work and in-depth academic study in the areas of dramaturgy, script analysis, dramatic literature, playwriting, acting, and directing.

Medea will be on stage February 2-14, 2010.  Show times are 8:00pm Tuesday – Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday.  Tickets cost $20-$24 (plus handling fees) and may be ordered by calling the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474 or online at www.theatre.villanova.edu.

image of Madea and Jason
Jason (Chris Serpentine) reproaches his estranged wife, Medea (Kimberly F. Fairbanks), for her temper. Photo by Paola Nogueras.
image of Medea carrying son
Chorus members watch in horror as Medea carries the lifeless body of her eldest son. Photo by Paola Nogueras.
image of Medea and chorus
Medea and Chorus members look on, disturbed by Jason’s readiness to leave his marriage bed, and his children. Photo by Paola Nogueras.
image of Aegeus
Aegeus (Tim Horner) ponders how he might rectify his childless life. Photo by Paola Nogueras.
image of Creon and soldier
Creon (Patrick White) and Soldier (Nelson Barre) enter, after Creon has revealed Medea’s banishment from Corinth. Photo by Paola Nogueras.
image of Medea and sons
Medea instructs her two sons (From left to right: Gabriela Petrone and Alex Barnett) on the delivery of the fateful gifts. Photo by Paola Nogueras.

Click here to view photos from our history!

Get Involved

Ushering
Ushers are needed for every performance. Ushers arrive one hour before the show, hand out programs, help seat patrons, and see the show for free! Please contact the Villanova Theatre Box Office at 610-519-7474 if you would like to usher.

Production Crew
We need volunteer crew members to help build sets, hang lights, and sew costumes. This is a great way to experience theatre "behind the scenes" and meet new people. Please contact Business/Production Manager Elisa Loprete Hibbs at 610-519-4897 to volunteer for production crew.

Open Auditions
Want to be in the spotlight? Audition for Villanova Theatre productions! Auditions are held throughout the year. 

Cast of Characters

Medea: Kimberly F. Fairbanks

Jason: Chris Serpentine

Nurse: Danielle DeStefano

Tutor: Tom Saporito

Older Son: Alex Barnett

Younger Son: Gabriela Petrone

Chorus Leader: Jessica Bedford

Chorus: Lizzy Dalton- Negron
Stephanie King
Gilletta Mcgraw
Kathleen Mulhearn

Creon: Patrick White

Creon’s Herald: Nelson Barre

Aegeus: Tim Horner

Messenger: Will Windsor Erwin