In 2015, Helen McRory took the stage of National Theater Live as a murderous Euripedean mother, Medea. This well-acclaimed actress had the job to portray a reinvented and modern version of the classic Greek tragedy, and did she raise the bar for all theatrical performers!

Medea is the story of a mother losing everything she owned to another woman and through her rage committing the unthinkable act of murdering her children. She was portrayed by Euripides as a cunning, snake-like witch; not powerful in figure but powerful in mind and powers. Hundreds of years later now, McRory had the challenge to reinvent Medea into a woman not a witch; a powerful wolf not a cunning snake; and a strong force both in body and mind.

Being a Greek play, McRory indeed played the part fantastically as a Greek actress with her enormous strides across the stage, her great hand gestures and powerful statute stances during monologues. She used her body appropriately for the Greek drama, and for the stage, as if it were in an amphitheater. One could tell she used Stanislavsky’s method acting techniques to prepare her body and mind for this role as her veins visibly pulsed out of genuine anger and her body shook, showcasing her ‘weak’ body trying to facade strength. McRory also managed to maintain these bodily emotions along with the occasional tears in the right moments to fuel the drama.

In regards to voice, McRory generally had a very resonant sound without the use of a microphone and without shouting, however as her body and mind got carried away with the emotions of the drama, her voice would occasionally waver off and get croaky and semi hard to hear, however her facial expressions, her sharp eyes and her body language all compensated for this.

McRory could not have executed this role any better, she dominated the stage with her presence, at all levels and heights from crawling on the floor in agony to walking down the stairs in elegance, she had everyone on the edge of their seats, empathizing with her struggles and getting emotional themselves. In all that she did, nothing was forced but contained raw emotions with her extensive performing abilities, hence making it a believable act thus a great performance!



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