The Invention of Monsters Cover

Catherine Theis

Through a mix of sound-poems, dance, and traditional scenes, Catherine Theis attempts to jostle Medea from her traditional, male-defined narrative in this modern retelling set in the mountains of Montana. A 2015 Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers finalist, MEDEA features a Chorus of Flames, choreography for The Milky Way, and a collection of palate-cleansing satyr plays to be performed after. Grappling with both love and language, Theis' Medea "wants to join with the world, to meld with it. Let's let her do that—see what falls away."

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Full-length, Tragedy, Poetry, Greek, Adaptation
Cast: 2W, 1M, 1A, 2 Choruses


Goodreads // Cover design by Megan J. Pryce


Full Stop
Beatrix Turán

"Catherine Theis' lyrical riff on the Medea myth locates Medea and cheating Husband sometime after the accidental poisoning of her children. In the mountains of Montana, the title character rises far beyond her prosaic husband with her bond to her sister, heaven, and earth. Woven with classical references, this Medea dances with the Milky Way and a Chorus of Flames to a compelling imagist beat."
Diane Rayor
translator of Euripides' Medea (Cambridge, 2013)
"Keeping all the themes—passion and betrayal, loyalty and revenge—intact, Theis transposes Medea and her comrades-in-tragedy into a vibrant lyricism in which sounds ricochet, layer, and multiply, casting language as the central character within and against the background of the myth's multi-millennial history. From the vividly impossible stage directions (An orange tree realigns its arm toward the sun) to her re-deployment of the satyr plays, Theis engages the ancient in ways that make us re-theatricalize our own present. Thanks to the immediacy of her writing, the page is the perfect stage for this play and its aftermaths."
Cole Swensen
author of Landscapes on a Train
& co-editor of American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry
"Two visions of what translation should be: 'a performative gesture altering space' (Erín Moure); 'lebendig' (Hölderlin)-meaning it renders both source and reader living again. Catherine Theis' überlively version of Euripides' Medea fits both bills. Venturing to the very Shrub of Fate, with only stray Mars bars for sustenance, this Medea awakens us to all the old monstrosities-patriarchy, language, embodiment in time. It's as stylish as an Alfa Romeo, the perfect tonic to our Gold-Leaf Age."
John Beer
theatre critic & author of Lucinda