The Slovenian director and the actress open their brilliant Medea to close the 55th edition of the Merida Festival Tomaz Pandur and Blanca Portillo´s Medea, the show which closes the 55th edition of the Merida Festival, became historic from its very opening night last thursday at the Roman theatre, in front of a people crowd that was electrified, and who, instead of applauding, erupted to a standing ovation at the end of the brilliant and moving show, the story of «an intimate tragedy of misfortuned love». It is often strange to see how an ephimeral art like theatre settles into a society´s collective imagination through the emotions of a small part of a country´s population. A happy few who manage to see the show which later becomes emblematic and who will never be joined by others, because only they assisted to an exceptional event. But, so it happens. Until now, Medea lived on in spanish memories, not always truthful, attached to the lives of two great actresses who succeeded in embodying all the symbollic power kept within this myth: Margarita Xirgu and Nuria Espert. Both intimately attached to the unique stage of Mérida´s Roman Theatre, where they played the title role in 1933 and 1934 and 1959,1979 and 2001, respectively. There have been many others, fifteen in Mérida alone, but they never reached the heights where those two legends live, not only for their theatrical talent, but for what they represent to spanish theatre´s history.  But on Thursday night an slovenian director, living on the edge of youth and maturity, a Madrid-born actress converted over the last few years in a a great reference of spanish theatre and a strong and brilliant team led by Asier Etxeandía, Julieta Serrano and Alberto Jiménez made it clear to everyone that the XXI century had produced its great Medea and Mrs. Xirgu, who died in exile in 1969, and Mrs. Espert, who is still in perfect shape, have made room in their throne for Mrs. Portillo, who has managed to turn the screw, in pandurian style, to show a tremendously earthly Medea, who speaks in any of nowadays women´s modern language. 
Because Pandur, together with his lifelong collaborator, Mr. Darko Lukic, and his most loyal aid, Mrs. Livija Pandur´s version, wanted his Medea to be a kind of homeless, displaced, exiled, emigrant woman, «roaming for three thousand years and one day», always hurtful, always a stranger, like so many women who live in our modern society and become almost invisible amongst us.  Just like the woman the director places among the audience, fifteen minutes before the show actually begins, to be recognized only by some of the members of the audience, and only when they realize there is a strange woman in a trenchcoat, only when they recognize a familiar face, with whom they´ve shared solitudes or dinners in their living rooms, where the TV screen rules over everyday´s life. This Medea has lost on the way her condition of pseudo-witch, choleric and revengeful, who betrays her homeland, kills her brother and leads others to commit horrible crimes, for her love for Jason. The same Medea who, once out of love, kills her rival using her magic skills. And who, to throw Jason even deeper into his loneliness and his pain, ends up killing their two sons. But this Medea is not mad. She is a wounded woman who does not want for her children the humiliation suffered by every foreigner, every stranger. The show, which will run in Merida until the 30th of august, includes a white centaur as a storyteller, an astonishingly horse-like Asier Etxeandía, who brings us back to the passolinian conception of a Medea who emerges from the primeval traditions of the deep Mediterranean Sea. The same sea travelled by Jason and the argonauts, so well-known by Pandur, who has filled the stage with his own ancestral references, both rural (there are sheep and dogs onstage) and primitive. With Numen´s set design, a stage all covered with straw, a labyrinth in the orchestra pit, and an obscure zeppelin hanging in the air, over the heads of thousands of spectators, tied down to the earth through a kind of umbilical lace.
With the random sounds of hellicopters, bombs, sheep, children´s cries and music from the Balkans composed by Silence and performed live by the voices and the accordeons of six young actresses turned into women from Colchis. They, alongside a group of young actors turned into the group of young argonauts, form a solid and precise choir ensemble. All serving an intelligent conception, utterly operistic, with strokes of 60´s Italian neorrealistic cinema, subtle and delicate touches of Passolini´s Medea, where each and every actor enjoys their moment of glory, their aria to shine, like Julieta Serrano in her final monologue, where the actress brings out her immense talent for the tragedy, or like Alberto Jiménez, who scene by scene dosifies his pain until he reaches his character´s heart-breaking final climax. And a second role, taken on by Etxeandia, Egeus, King of Athens, who recovers himself from a strange disease after his meeting with Medea. But shining among them all, in her own personal light, a giant and absolute prima donna, who has put all her flesh, blood and soul into her Medea.
After having seen previous works by Pandur in Spain (Inferno, 1oo Minutes, Barroco, Alas, Hamlet), all marked by his extraordinary esthetics, this one seems somehow different without losing his personal touch. A show wrapped up with an epilogue in which Pandur leaves an open door to various interpretations of her Medea, unusually welcomed by the audience, before its opening, with sold-out tickets and wearing pins on their lapels showing just two words: Medea Portillo. ( EL PAIS, Rosana Torres, Spain, 23.8.2009)
Directed by Tomaz Pandur, considered by many the creator of a new language for the stage, Medea looks more like a movie than a theatre show. There lies the magic of an indescribable and brutal show. An array of intense emotions, images to remember and the feeling one has experienced one of those works that will be remembered for many years to come. The show is, at least, unsettling, and provokes continuous emotions in the audience. Designed by Pandur with immense precision, it silenced on its opening night the sold-out and won-over stalls.  (VOZ EMÉRITA, Javier Alvarez Amaro, Merida, 22. 8. 2009)
The Slovenian director and the actress from Madrid execute a direct, symbolic and contemporary show which rejuvenates Euripides text with splendid results.Pandur is the creator of a new Medea which, associated with Euripides, generates by itself a new myth. This is a Medea for the XXI century. Pandur creates an exhilarating show with exile as its starting point. The show brings the myth down to earth and places it in the XXI century. Direct, poetic and detailed the show evokes both the rural and the urban world, with a perfect use of the wonderful Roman Theatre. The director works on each and every gesture and polishes the dramaturgy with a masterful use of music from the Balkans. It is a full-bodied show which inhabits the realm of clairvoyant symbolism.  (HOY, Celestino J. Vinagre, Merida, 22. 8. 2009)

Pandur´s Medea receives a five-minute long standing ovation This Medea will live on in our memories. To tell her story, Mr. Pandur chooses to travel through two different levels: the conscious and the subconscious. He uses the never ending passage of the Roman theatre´s stage as if he was directing a movie in cinemascope. (PÚBLICO. Carlos Prieto, Spain, 22.8.2009)

The wonderful results of this avant-garde, cinematographic, spectacular, XXI century Medea, is a relief for those who waited sceptically the arrival of avant-garde enfant terrible, Tomaz Pandur. (EL MUNDO, David Vigario, Spain, 22.8.2009)
Tomaz Pandur and his team have created a Medea exclusively for Mérida´s Roman theatre. This is an intensely visual show, elegantly symmetric to the eyes of a hypnotized audience, which completely filled the stalls on the opening night. The show is full of symbolic elements and the perfect synchronization of the actors onstage adds to the show’s brilliant flow and magic.The Slovenian director’s version is full of autobiographical touches. Since the disintegration of Yugoslavia after the last war of the Balkans, Mr. Pandur has made theatre his homeland. And considering Medea´ s success, he seems quite at ease in his new home.“It was an incredible night, which brings back the faith in the power of theatre”, said Mr. Pandur, at the end of the show.  (EL PERIÓDICO de EXTREMADURA, M. Gonzalez, Merida, Spain, 22.8.2009)