Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hotel Medea

22:45 on a Saturday night. Meeting point: North Greenwich Pier. Destination? Utterly unknown. Activity? Even vaguer. Just show up. Don’t be late, stated the anonymous email, the boat leaves at 23:00.


Hotel Medea is a Brazilian group of eccentric actors who have chosen to use a very interactive method of performing, while dramatising the enchanting myth of Medea, brilliantly ‘adjusting’ it to our everyday lives in the 21st century.

For those of us less familiar with the story, Medea was the granddaughter of Helios, the god of Sun, and one of the great sorceresses in the ancient world. Jason, a handsome boy from another kingdom, tried to steal the Golden Fleece that belonged to her father, King of Colchis. But Medea and Jason fell inlove, and once Jason got holf of the Golden Fleece they ran away together, taking her younger brother with them. When the King started pursuing them, Medea killed her brother and bisected him, to delay the pursuit. After fleeing from Jason’s kingdom as well for using her sorcery to kill its King, they arrived at Corinth, where Medea bore Jason two children. But Jason had forsaken her to marry the king’s daughter, so Medea used her sorcery again to kill the bride, with a poison robe that burnt the flesh from her body, then killing her own two children as well.

Although the story goes on, this is actually where the play stops. Jason was left mourning for his two children lying in their beds, covered with roses and teddy bears that the audience, i.e. your humble servant and the rest of the random passer-byers, had thrown on their beds. Then we all moved to the main room, where a long table was set for a feast. We sat down, looking at each other, looking at all the marvellous food, looking at Medea sitting at the head of the table – finally saying, “...was it too much?” as if to share her doubts with her loyal audience. She then got up to open the doors facing the river Thames, so we all could see the crack of dawn at 5:00 am on the London docks.

It was then that we all started dining shamelessly, like starved peasants biting on warm Pain au Chocolate and some aristocratic full grain bread with butter & strawberry jam. After dancing as joyous tribe members to the celebrations of the princess’ marriage, after acting as hyped journalists covering Jason’s campaign, after being put to bed as Medea’s children (and pampered with lovely hot chocolate), after being led through alleys by the caretakers with our pyjamas when Medea decided to kill us... After being the audience for such a dynamic and brilliant spectacle, one cannot properly describe the hunger of a post white night celebration and convey this (literally) awakening experience. Giant bowls of fruit, juicy watermelons and hot porridge happily filled the magnificently long table. And once we settled our stomachs down, we got to mingle with the actors, now not in character, and listen to their perfect English that was concealed by their sexy Brazilian accents during the play.

5:30 on a Sunday morning and the game is over. My knackered date for the evening and me hopped on a shuttle that took us back to civilization, where we began our journey to bed for recovery. Sadly the distance between east London and Ealing didn’t allow me to lay my head down before 8:00, but the glorious performance hadn't left my thoughts: this was by far the most exciting and unusual night I've spent in London.

Sadly enough I don’t have any pictures of the evening, but a quick look at this video here would give you a vague idea...

And of course, the link to the guys’ official website: