Blueprint Medea, the first play in English featuring a character based on the real-life “Kurdish Angelina Jolie”, gets its world premiere next month at the Finborough Theatre, care of multi-award-winning writer and director Julia Pascal. Time to get booking!
Blueprint Medea, written and directed by Julia Pascal, has a strictly limited three-week season at west London’s Finborough Theatre, running from 21 May to 8 June 2019, with press nights on 23 and 24 May.
“If I am a virgin. If the enemy catch me. You know what they will do…”
Kurdish freedom fighter Medea escapes the Turkish military and arrives at UK Border Control on a forged passport. Slipping through immigration, Medea discovers how to exist on the margins of London life. Working illegally as a cleaner in a gym, she meets Jason-Mohammed, the son of Iraqi immigrants. Their attraction results in the birth of twin boys. Medea believes that she has finally found a new home, a new family and a new life.
But when Jason-Mohammed’s father decides that his son must marry Glauke, an Iraqi cousin, Medea realises that she will lose both her sons and her safe haven in the UK. As her whole world falls apart, she is forced to accept that she has nothing to lose by revenging herself – destroying the lives who those who have betrayed her and keeping her sons’ spirits with her forever…
The plot of Blueprint Medea is loosely inspired by Euripides’ Medea, connecting the classical to the contemporary in order to explore eternal questions of passion, war, cultural identity, women’s freedom, sex, family and love.
The title character is based on Asia Ramazan Antar, the real-life Kurdish Women’s Protection Units fighter who became a symbol for the feminist struggle in the Rojava conflict and in the Kurdish fight against ISIS in Syria. After photos of her went viral online, she was dubbed the “Kurdish Angelina Jolie” because of her resemblance to the Hollywood actress. Antar was killed during a suicide attack in Manbij, Syria on 30 August 2016.
Writer and director Julia Pascal, the first woman ever to direct at the National Theatre, interviewed Kurdish fighters living in the UK for Blueprint Medea, which is the first play in English about a character based on Asia Ramazan Antar.
Ruth D’Silva stars as Medea opposite Max Rinehart as Jason. They’re joined in the cast by Tiran Aakel, Shaniaz Hama Ali and Amanda Maud. Set and Lighting design is by Kati Hind, music and sound by James Peter Moffatt. The production is presented by Pascal Theatre Company in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.
Blueprint Medea runs from 21 May to 8 June 2019 at the Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are priced £10-£20. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Playwright and director Julia Pascal trained and worked as an actor before coming to public attention as the first woman director at the National Theatre with Men Seldom Make Passes, her adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s writings, which ran for two years as a Platform Performance.
She has directed new writing by Seamus Finnegan, Carole Rumens, Melanie Phillips and Yana Stajno. She directed Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker for the British Council. As Associate Director of The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, she directed works by Howard Brenton, Bertolt Brecht and Fay Weldon. Her plays have been seen internationally including France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Ireland and in New York City at the Lincoln Centre’s Director’s Lab and Theatre for the New City.
Her plays include The Holocaust Trilogy –Theresa, A Dead Woman On Holiday and The Dybbuk (New End Theatre, Hampstead and European Tour), The Yiddish Queen Lear (Southwark Playhouse), Woman In The Moon (Arcola Theatre), The Golem (Purcell Room), St Joan (New End Theatre, Hampstead, Paris and Edinburgh Festival), Year Zero (Maubeuge, France, and The Junction, Cambridge), The Shylock Play (Arcola Theatre), Honeypot (New Diorama Theatre), Nineveh (Riverside Studios), an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Villette (The British Library), Crossing Jerusalem, commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre (Tricycle Theatre and Park Theatre) and Old Newland, commission and presented by Theatre Delicatessen.
Her many awards include the Dan I Rodden Jr Play Award for Blueprint Medea; whilst Theresa won a BBC Alfred Bradley Prize and the radio version was nominated for the Sony Prize. Julia has been awarded the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Fellowship and grants from The European Association for Jewish Culture, The Leverhulme Trust as Writer in Residence at the Wiener Library, The Moondance Columbine Prize for Crossing Jerusalem, The Arts Council, The Oppenheim John-Downes Memorial Trust, 2000, The Goethe Institute and The Alfred Bradley Prize.
Her texts are published by Oberon Books, Faber and Virago. She was awarded her PhD from the University of York in 2016. Currently, she is a Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London, and teaches Dramatic Writing on City University’s MA course. Pascal Theatre Company is currently funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project Discovering and Documenting England’s Lost Jews.