Medea: The Chorus Diaries Entry No. 5 by Helen Shrimpton


Well That’s it! after 10 weeks of rehearsal, and performances we have come to the end of our runs at The Casa. Now, a well deserved short break for the cast and crew of Medea is due before we perform the final 2 shows at St Luke’s Church and the Unity Theatre.

I will admit here and now, that this whole process has not been particularly easy. In fact it’s been pretty exhausting! From the physical side of the performance, including being on stage for the duration, and holding certain positions for a long time (I got pins and needles in places I didn’t think you could get them in!) to the emotional storyline, and finding that extra gear within yourself to get the audience to question and challenge their beliefs and morals. This play has taken a lot out of me (in a good way of course).

I love a top 5 list so here are some personal highlights from Medea:

1) The rehearsals for the Chorus (even the dreaded ‘Chorus tag’ warm ups!)

2) The beautiful and lyrical way the script has been written by Jonathon Bibby (a nightmare when it comes to learning your lines but I’m not complaining! (honest!)

3) The powerful portrayals of Medea, Jason, Creon/Aegeus ,The Messenger, The Tutor ,The Nurse and of course our 2 little stars playing the young sons. It’s been a joy to watch these roles come alive.

4) The stunned silence from the audience at the climax of the show. (shivers down my spine every night!)

5) The feeling of pride that has come after every performance so far. May it continue for the last two!

Another of the most satisfying outcomes from these shows and rehearsals has been the bonding between the Chorus members both on and off stage, which according to Julian our director, is something he is very proud of.(apparently 8 women speaking in unison and giving you daggers can be a little intimidating!) It can be very difficult to show off so many personalities and still maintain a sense of community, but I think in this case it has been a success. By listening to each other and challenging concepts of what we thought a chorus should be about, we have achieved a level of performance that many professional actors and theatre groups take months to perfect. As Stanislavski said ; ”There are no small roles, only small actors”.

I am immensely proud to have been involved in these shows and on personal level, I believe that this process has helped me become confident in my abilities as a performer and in social situations whereas before I may have shyed away from exposing myself. (not in that way, oo-er! although that costume leaves little to the imagination at times!)

Sometimes the best moments in life come from the source you least expect it to. For me this has certainly been the case.

If you haven’t already, please come to the remaining shows on 17th and 25th of April. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have,

Now, all this writing and performing has worn me out. Time for a cuppa and a biccie I think. Chocolate Bourbon anyone?

Love Helen x


Medea: Greek Chorus Diaries- Welcome, by Natalie J. Romero

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Hello, and welcome to the first ever Greek Chorus Diary entry. I’m Natalie, coming to you from the depths of the Burjesta extended family and this is the place for wonderfully weird world of the Burjesta Greek chorus, updated every week with details straight from the performers themselves.

So far work on Medea has been long, arduous, and an utter brilliance of fun at the same time. From the invention of Greek Chorus Tag to the many ways of learning to act ‘collectively individual’, we’ve all come a long way since those fateful December auditions.

But with just four short weeks to go before opening night at The Casa, the cast of Medea are having to cast out the antics, the banter and finally get down the really serious business of final rehearsals and show prep.

Medea, for many of the cast and creative team, has been a production unlike any other. Greek tragedy, it seems, demands a certain mixture of tender love and care, juxtaposed with the odd barked order, teamwork, copious amounts of tea and a mutual understanding from everyone involved that all theatre to some extent is one great experiment. But this one perhaps more so than others: Medea presented itself to Burjesta as the first script to feature a ‘chorus’- not in the way that many might anticipate a chorus to be featured in a play; it is neither the embodiment of song and dance and both those things equally, coupled with reverent storytelling that is invaluable to the plot. A cast of eight make up the chorus, Sam Walton, Rebecca Howard, Faye Caddick, Mairi Kennedy, Maria Hutchinson, Helen Shrimpton, Vicky Lodge and myself) and are charged with reflecting the mood and ambience as it shifts within the story. With the driving force behind this being the impassioned Medea herself, the chorus must sea-change with all the sensitivity and depth of the ocean.

Each week from now until the end of Burjesta’s run of Medea, a different member of the chorus will update you with the progress of the production, the challenges and rewards they stood to face that week and exclusive behind the scenes details you will only find here.

In between these ‘Chorus Diaries’ cast members Mikyla Durkan (Medea), Jonathon Bibby (Jason), Ifan James (Aegeus and Creon), Gillian Paterson-Fox (The Nurse), Angela Parkinson (The Tutor) and Yahya Baggash (The Messenger) may chime in with entries of their own, but surprises are best left unspoiled!

For me, becoming part of Medea, and by extension, of Burjesta, has been an enlightening experience. Yes, all theatre productions need teamwork to succeed, but being part of the chorus has taken this to another level. I hope my fellow chorus members will agree that all these rehearsals, getting to know one another, mind and body, 12-15 hours per week has been a lesson in communication, in sharing, and a learning curve that I wouldn’t exchange for anything. We all seemed to have found our niche, our talents taken on personalities: not in recent months has every muscle been so thoroughly stretched and worked as in Rebecca’s pre-rehearsal physical warm-up’s. I knew Sam Walton and Faye Caddick a little bit before Medea, now that has become a whole lot more, with their dynamic and infectious friendship. Mairi Kennedy, understudy to Medea, is the depth amongst all our comedy.

I have discovered Mikyla to be a chameleon from comic to tragedian, with her achingly funny talks on everything from costumes to Guinea-pigs, quick-changed to her embodiment of shiver-inducing revenge seeker. Director Julian has a working style that I again have not seen in action before, but has been the gentle, encouraging force behind all our friendships formed, since all of us auditioned in December.

So- welcome to the Greek Chorus Diaries! I hope all of you stick with us, we are an odd lot, with much to say and share, and the only place you’ll find it is right here. Expect the next entry Sunday 8th March, and every Sunday thereafter!

Natalie x