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Sunday Arts Magazine

17 Jul 2022

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Arts, Performing Arts

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Recalled and reimagined from the fantastical minds of her slain
children, Medea: Out of the Mouths of Babes is Theatre Works’
latest premiere production, drawn from Euripides’ famous tale.

Developed with children and performed by adults, this new Aus-
tralian work is a seriously playful tragedy.

With most presentations of the Medea myths, the framework posi-
tions Medea and Jason as those who sacrificed and lost the most.

But this consistent oversight ignores the very obvious fact that it
was the children who suffered the greatest. They lost their parents,
their futures, and their lives.

Medea: Out of the Mouths of Babes doesn’t erase the experience of the adult characters but it does shift the fo-
cus onto the experience of the young ones – those who are all too often weaponised in adult arguments and left

without a voice of their own.

Arguably one of the darkest tales in the Western theatrical canon, this age-old story is given a fresh and surpris-
ingly playful rebirth. Developed by a council of five children (aged 6-10) and Theatre Works’ award-winning crea-
tive team, Medea: Out of the Mouths of Babes is a compelling new Australian work told from the point of view of

two of its undoubtedly most important characters; Medea’s children.
“Choosing to frame this particular retelling from the perspective of the children came about initially from not
wanting to demonise, justify or vilify either Medea or Jason in one particular light”, explains Director Steven
Mitchell Wright.
“I think in the current political climate, with the kind of media and social media cycles that we have, it would be
very easy to tell a reductive version of this story, which is why I wanted to include real children in the development
of the work. Their minds work in ways that are so different from ours. Their politics are different, their hearts are
less shielded, and their imaginations are simply wild.
What we are doing is focussing on myth and story-telling through a highly child-like lens, and allowing the themes

of the work to sit within that. Purists will still have enough there for them to enjoy the work, but there are new ele-
ments that the children discovered which we’d simply never think of.”

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