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I was there and then I wasn’t. The actors were before me and then they weren’t. The curtain opened, it closed, and—in the play of appearances and disappearances—something was seen in the vanishings. Remaining, what I now write is a kind of recollected narrative, a reportorial account of British director Deborah Warner’s recent adaptation of Euripides’ Medea. As a member of its audience one evening, I look back from the strict vantage of the remembered event, from the dual perspective of having seen the performance, but of seeing it no longer, of having been a spectator to the play, but now being a spectator to my memories of it. For my time in the theatre had at its core an ephemeral dimension easily forgotten, but fundamental: “now you see it, now you don’t.” Coming and going as it did, Medea (and my seeing of it) nonetheless engendered an unexpectedly rich afterlife that extended beyond its immediate staging, beyond this one particular evening, as the play was later involuntarily recalled, or willfully summoned into posthumous shape and dimension.


Originally published in Theatre Topics 16: 1 (March 2006): 35-45.