by Finn O'Branagáin
Photo: David Cox

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by Finn O'Branagáin

A text-based dance party/religious ritual performance project retelling the mis-told and misunderstood myth of Medusa. In this version, a fierce-as-f*ck ensemble perform a ritual to awaken the goddess, and give her back her head.

The text is a modern reinterpretation of the story of Medusa, told with modern language, settings and references. Set in a nightclub/temple, the ensemble cast create scenes from a modern life to retell the ancient (and largely mistold) story of the rape, banishment and beheading of Medusa, the gorgon woman who could turn people to stone. Delving into history, pop culture, mythology, religion, psychology, sociology and symbolism to look at the conversations raised by the content. The work tries to imagine a different ending for Medusa, and for the women who will leave the theatre.

Medusa becomes a kind of feminist totem - and is being summoned to protect and fight for the women calling her up. The work is primarily a display of solidarity, and simultaneously a celebration, a party, and a warning to oppressors. The audience can either be swept into and participate in the ritual or bear witness.

Medusa is about the experience of living in a female body. It’s about what it is like when a woman’s body goes from being ‘desirable’ to ‘repulsive’, when we are conditioned and socialised to be seen only to have value within our physicality. It speaks to the way we are desensitised to yet titillated by women being murdered and bodies dissected on screen - in films and on the news. In an atmosphere of rage we are giving Medusa back her head and her power. We are advocating for solidarity and healing.

Casting: This work is for an ensemble of physical performers of various ages. I am also interested in an entirely female cohort. There are central roles for older women. I encourage anyone casting this production to consider performers from diverse ethnic or cultural backgrounds, sexualities and disabilities. The central roles of Medusa especially should be considered for women+ of colour.

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