“Silly” is not the first word that comes to mind for anyone familiar with the tragedy of Medea – and yet Sengkubdong Beedoolkee’s adaptation seeks to destabilize and reframe our understanding of this ancient story, calling into question the way we receive and process violence today through multiple forms of media. As audience members and witnesses, how do we come to terms with the ways violence shapes our everyday lives, our entertainment, our social time and our expectations for how we can move through the world?

Reality and fiction, the clear lines of genre, the distance between the past and the present – all these are called into question in this dynamic, challenging performance. MEDEA on Media recasts the ancient tale as a commentary on contemporary media and serves it to the audience in wildly outrageous ways, including talk shows, action movies, Disney cartoons, and an Instagrammable yoga class. Will you laugh? Will you cry? Will you post a photo online after the show?

Led by director Kim Hyun-tak, South Korea’s Seongbukdong Beedoolkee Theatre freely deconstructs the texts of both well-known masterpieces and modern Korean dramas to recreate them, incorporating contemporary social issues. Often, Kim’s performances use a different theatrical style depending on the material and topic, such as dance theatre, melodramatic film, or physical theatre, and most of them include active audience participation.

Get Into It

MEDEA on Media

Get Thee to the LIbrary

Recommended readings to get you in gear for the show.

Heike Bartel and Anne Simon, Unbinding Medea: Interdisciplinary Approaches to a Classical Myth from Antiquity to the 21st Century. Legenda, 2010. 

Felix Budelmann and I. Sluiter, eds. Minds On Stage: Greek Tragedy and Cognition. Oxford University Press, 2023. 

Michael Ewans, Euripides’ Medea: Translation and Theatrical Commentary. Routledge, 2022. 

Pang-ok Kim, Contemporary Korean Theater: Beyond Tradition and Modernization. Hollym, 2014.

Patrice Pavis, Performing Korea. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 

Extra Credit

Social technologies and media have made it possible for us to stay connected to people all over the world in unprecedented ways, but it’s also allowed us unprecedented access to witness in real time the atrocities of war and violence all over the world. Social media platforms employ content moderators to make judgments on and filter out videos and images that they deem inappropriate for their platforms, but this work is often outsourced to workers without regulations and support, and the biases of the companies are often reflected in what they deem offensive and remove from view. Learn more about this facet of the global news economy in these articles and interviews.

The Guardian | Sept 11, 2023

"I log into a torture chamber each day": the strain of moderating social media

“We are managing content to protect people’s mental health at the risk of our emotional wellbeing.”

Harvard Business Review | Nov 9, 2022

Content Moderation Is Terrible by Design

“What’s happened with content moderation is that this work has just been pushed out of sight.”

The New Yorker | July 5, 2019

The Underworld of Online Content Moderation

“The primary function of people doing commercial content moderation at these platforms was for brand management of the social-media platform itself.”

Wall Street Journal | May 24, 2023

Lawsuits by Moderators of Violent Online Content Pose Threat to Big Tech

Global tech companies including Facebook parent Meta rely on armies of outsourced workers.