Production Concept

The director will be Thomas Ostermeier, the artistic director of the Schaubuehne in Berlin.  Not only is he guiding one of the most exciting experimental theatre companies in the world, he was also born, raised and lives in Germany.  He will not only bring his talent and artistic merit to the project, but also his perspective as an artist from the same country as the playwright.

The space is not an existing theatre, but an abandoned schoolhouse in Harlem.  Public School 186 was built at the turn of the twentieth century, it was closed in 1975 due to its decaying state.  Since then it has not been repaired at all and continues to rot to this day.


It is important to state that the focus of this piece will be on the destruction of the earth and nature and the inevitable implications that has for humans as a species.  This will manifest itself in different ways in each of the three sections of Müller’s text and will mostly follow the playwright’s suggestions of the settings.  Due to the open-endedness of the play, the scenic designs will be extremely specific.  By highlighting three drastically different environments from all over the world, it will hopefully further enhance the sense of the collective.  Despoiled Shore will take place in the auditorium of PS 186 and will be designed to look like a peep show in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, which will illuminate the unities between the colonization of women and the colonization of the earth.  Medea Material will take place on the top floor of the abandoned schoolhouse, and the scene will take place in a decrepit pool made to look like Mike Tyson’s in his abandoned mansion in Las Vegas.  The images attached to this mansion are more important than its former owner.  It was something gaudy and extravagant that was tossed aside and discarded without pause.  Finally, Land with Argonauts will take place in a particular classroom, which is the most distressed room in the building.  It has no roof and there is shrubbery and small trees growing out of the brick and concrete.  This is the abandoned city, Japan’s Hashima Island.  Once a center for coal mining, the city was abandoned when petroleum surpassed coal as the prime source of energy.  Furthermore, it served as a sort of internment camp during WWII when the Japanese government forced Korean and Chinese citizens to mine there.  The three specific locations (the peep show in Amsterdam, the abandoned mansion, Japan’s Ghost island) represent the exploited and forgotten, which is essentially what Medea is.


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