Radnóti Theatre, Budapest, Hungary, 2003
Author: Hans Henny Jahn
Directed by Sándor Zsótér

about the production

Hans Henny Jahnn (1894 – 1959) was a German writer, organ builder, music theorist, horse-breeder and hormone researcher. His play Medea, written in 1926, is loosely based on the adaptation of the mythical story by Euripides. Jahnn’s Medea is black, with two mulatto sons; the Corinthians disregard her and consider her children illegitimate, since they do not recognise the marriage between the Greek Jason and a woman from Colkhis as legal.

from the performance leaflet

Sándor Zsótér uses a complex system of allusions, in which everything seems to be simple and natural. The gestures of the actors are both from mythology and from everyday life; they confront and overlook each other at the same time. It reminds us of the Brechtian alienation effect. (...) They (editorial note: Medea and Jason) sit next to each other, but it is not each other to whom they talk to; rather aslant forward, next to each other, as if they were uttering parallel monologues. They do in fact feel each other but their manner of communication is rhetorical. They become Medea and Jason but at the same time, they keep being the actors who are playing Medea and Jason.

Tamás Koltai, Élet és Irodalom

This production is provocative from a certain point of view. It is characterized by theatrical minimalism, which is not familiar to Hungarian stages. (...) In this performance the actors cannot rely on their routine, they cannot apply the usual ways of acting, and the traditional shaping of the character. The actors have to convey a complex state of mind, complicated emotions and destructive passions, however, in the simplest, most statuesque manner possible, reduced to almost minimal acting, with hardly any movement, only a few gestures, and mostly in ordinary everyday voice.

Urbán Balázs, Zsöllye

Recent Zsótér’s works are based on antique text (several versions of The Bacchantes, a modern Pheadra and a modern Medea). Medea is a possible answer to the question how to stage a Greek text today. (...) Zsótér started his career with a theatre language based on movement, focusing on body language, and less on text. Medea, a theatre performance without movement, emerged from Zsóter’s theatre of movement. This performance which focuses only on the text, speech, the power of speech and voice, the internal life of the actor without it’s external representation, can be considered a response to the realistic and psychological theatre.

Andrea Tompa

Awards given to Medea:

Awards given at the Hungarian National Festival held in Pecs (called POSZT) ( 2003): for the best director – Sándor Zsótér, the best stage design – Mária Ambrus, the best actress – Mari Csomós (Medea). Budapest Council Award for the best director.



directed by Sándor Zsótér
set design: Mária Ambrus
costume design: Mari Benedek
dramaturg: Júlia Ungár
assistant: Margit Balák
characters and cast:
Jason, Greek: Sándor Csányi, Medea, black woman: Mari Csomós, Creon, the king: Márta Martin, The older son: Gábor Kocsó, The boy’s nurse: Erika Molnár, Creon’s envoy: Zoltán Schneider, Nurse: Gabriella Hámori


Sándor Zsótér (1961)

Sándor Zsótér is a director, dramaturgist and actor playing leading roles in several Hungarian films. He is a graduate of the Hungarian Academy of Theatre and Film in Budapest. He worked as a dramaturgist in the Sándor Hevesi Theatre in Zalaegerszeg, in the Szigligeti Theatre in Szolnok, in the Radnóti Theatre in Budapest and in the Zsigmond Móricz Theatre in Nyíregyháza. Since 1992 he worked as a director in the Miskolcz Theatre. In 1994 he was invited by György Spiró to work in the Szigligeti Theatre in Szolnok, where he became the leading director. In 1996 he became the member of the National Theatre in Szeged, in 1999 he became the member of the Radnóti Theatre. Since 1996 he teaches at the Academy of Theatre and Film in Budapest and since 1999 he teaches theatre studies at the Veszprém University.

Materials available

Video of the production: no
Scripts of the production: SK, HU

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