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$2,507
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, April 6 2019 1:19 PM UTC +00:00.

Josh McIlvainBy Josh McIlvain
First created
Josh McIlvainBy Josh McIlvain
First created
$2,507
pledged of $3,500pledged of $3,500 goal
38
backers
16days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, April 6 2019 1:19 PM UTC +00:00.

About

For our 10th anniversary season, Automatic Arts is thrilled to announce a major new production, PURE MEDEA, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea, to debut May 2019 at Christ Church Neighborhood House, a 100-seat theater in the heart of Old City in Philadelphia. Having created and presented purely original work for ten years, tackling a classic play is very new to us—so of course we have added an Automatic Arts-style twist on it.This is an adaptation of the Ancient Greek play Medea and sets the play with in a rehearsal by a modern day theater company who are mounting the Euripides play. 

The theater at Christ Church Neighborhood House, on the historic grounds of Christ Church in Old City, Philadelphia.
The theater at Christ Church Neighborhood House, on the historic grounds of Christ Church in Old City, Philadelphia.

It’s 2019, members of a theater company rehearse Medea, the ancient tragedy of marital discord, palace intrigue, gender politics, and murder.  In PURE MEDEA, the audience is introduced to the characters of Medea through the characters of the actors first; the audience then experiences the transformation the text makes on the actors. Set during one of the company’s final run-throughs, PURE MEDEA follows these contemporary actors as they create their own interpretation of Euripides’ play, intertwining the machinations of Medea’s revenge upon her husband with the smaller tragedies—and petty rivalries—of their personal and professional lives.

THE PITCH

This is an ambitious project and we need your help to bring it to life. Our goal is to raise $3,500 and we have 30 days to do so! Kickstarter is a make it or break it giving platform. To receive your gift, we must reach our goal of $3,500.  Please make a gift today to ensure that we reach our goal and fully fund PURE MEDEA!

WHAT'S MEDEA, AGAIN?

MEDEA is an Ancient Greek play by Euripides, written in 432 BCE. That’s a long time ago! 2500 years ago—some rocks that aren’t even that old. Look you don’t have to pretend to know the story I will tell you:

Medea is a young resourceful woman who fell in love with the hero Jason and helped him and his band of warriors, The Argonauts, steal the Golden Fleece. She may have killed a couple people, including her brother, so she is not welcome back home. But she did it for love and she and Jason got married, bought a house in Corinth, settled down, had a couple children, were accepted into the community, welcomed into all the royal houses. But then Jason decides the best thing for his career is to marry the king’s daughter, and the king also things this is a first rate idea. Medea finds out about this and she is not happy. She is even less happy when the king says she’s got to leave Corinth and take the kids with her. In fact, you might say she gets real angry about the whole thing. Medea is the story of her planning her revenge and then taking it. PURE MEDEA is the story of a theater group enacting her plans on stage and all they must go through to do so.

PURE MEDEA follows the members of a theater company—4 actors and 1 director—as they enter, for the first time, the theater where they will perform Medea by Euripides in two weeks. We get to know the actors playing the roles, we also get to know various ways in which those roles can be played as the actors switch characters and try out a variety if approaches to their characters, trying to figure out what makes a line work or an intent come across as true. How might we convince an audience of the righteousness of something that’s clearly not right? How they prepare to play some of the worst actions on stage and how does that affect those actors? How do these roles begin to mirror the inner lives of the actors? 

Medea is a tragedy, PURE MEDEA is also a tragedy, but full of playfulness and humor.

Director Josh McIlvain working with Hallie Martenson, who plays the Director in PURE MEDEA. Photo by Kristin Curley.
Director Josh McIlvain working with Hallie Martenson, who plays the Director in PURE MEDEA. Photo by Kristin Curley.

Who's Who

I am thrilled to be working with Sheila Murnaghan’s translation of Medea as the text that the actors are using in PURE MEDEA. Sheila is a classicist at the University of Pennsylvania and she combines the best of scholarly investigation with great writing in her Medea. We are equally pleased that she will be hosting public talkbacks after two of the performances.

Additional rehearsal room text and direction by Josh McIlvain, who conceived of the idea, and rearranged parts of the original to bring new perspectives on the play. PURE MEDEA features a fantastic cast of Sophia Barrett, Hallie Martenson, Josh McLucas, Lauren Suchenski, and Homer Robinson. Adrena Williams is the costume designer.

WHY MEDEA

Medea is a play that has been shocking audiences for 2500 years, not just for its plot but for its discussions about gender and society and social contracts, what makes a hero a hero, and who, if anyone, is in the right in this play. PURE MEDEA by being set in the rehearsal room, let’s us make little dramas from these ideas that fit within the greater play. Medea is loaded with contemporary issues, but while some ancient dramas endure for the clarity of their life lessons—Medea seems to endure for its opaque morality and messy value system (and shock value). 

Would you cross this person?
Would you cross this person?

The audience is introduced to the characters of Medea through the characters of the actors first; the audience then experiences the transformation the text makes on the actors. The conceit of the rehearsal helps eliminate the distance often encountered between today’s audiences and Greek tragedy—by setting the work in an accessible space—literally the theater space being occupied at that moment—audiences do not have to wonder actors are wearing under their togas. Because there won’t be togas, though you will get 10 percent off your ticket price if you come wearing one. 

WHAT'S IT PAY FOR?

So $3500 is a nice chunk of money, what does it pay for? It pays for our theater, our actors, are rehearsals, our lighting, our rights to the text, our costumes, sets, and everything else that goes into making a production. Of course 3500 covers a good portion of our production, but not all, so we will be super pleased to exceed our goal.

FINAL PITCH

I am personally very excited to take this project on—I have been thinking about it for 3 years, and spent much of the past year getting the script together into working order and running initial workshops and readings to get the show in order. I hope you will give to this production and help take Automatic Arts to new heights for the next 10 years.

Risks and challenges

We see this production as a big leap forward for Automatic Arts, and a way to expand our creative reach into the greater theater community. This is our chance to re-envision new ways of bringing to stage older plays, putting our own unique and original spin on them, and to create an artistic dialogue with the new work we are known for.

It's an artistically ambitious project at a large theater in downtown Philadelphia. We need both the support to create the finest work we can as well as get to support our marketing and communications efforts to draw in a healthy audience.

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    A thank you in the PURE MEDEA program.

    Your name in the program of PURE MEDEA allows you to join in the excitement.

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    Your name sung in Thank You song video.

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    Poem on a postcard.

    Remember postcards? You will receive a mysterious postcard in the mail with an original poem by writer-director Josh McIlvain on it. Plus your name sung in a Thank You song, plus listing in the program.

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    2 comp tickets to show.

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    Rehearsal visit.

    You and a guest get the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of PURE MEDEA; you will receive a choice of 2 possible dates. Plus two comp tickets to performance of your choosing, plus poem on a postcard, your name sung in Thank You song, and a thank you in the program.

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