Medousa: A Miniature Opera


GenesisMEDOUSA‘ s original score is the product of a collaborative process. Applying the creative methodologies of devised performance, the work has developed from Maya Sapone’s vocal improvisations on Jacek Ludwig Scarso’s libretto, integrated with instrumental explorations by Carina Drury and Eva Caballero, increasingly shaped by Andrew Morley. Both score and choreography include improvisational aspects and have been informed by the collaborative input of the company members. This performer-driven approach to opera making was launched in March as part of the Arts Arena’s conference on performance as research held at the American University of Paris, where the completed piece will be staged again in October. MEDOUSA premiered as part of Tete a Tete – The Opera Festival at the Riverside Studios in London and was then presented at London Metropolitan University in conjunction with the Company’s other new stage work, The Passion of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, recently premiered at the Arcola Theatre.


Following the critically acclaimed production The Magdalene MysteriesVocal Motions Elastic Theatre revisits the myth of Medousa. Having offered herself to Poseidon, god of the sea, in the hope of gaining divine powers through their encounter, Medousa senses that she has provoked Athena's rage. By the end of that same night she will be turned into a monstrous creature by the jealous goddess. As she awaits Athena's revenge, full of foreboding for her own body's terrifying transformation, Medousa foresees Perseus in a dream. Using the reflection on his shield to detect where she is, he is on his way to kill her and exploit her petrifying gaze as a weapon of his own. Yet the waiting is strangely exciting. As her punishment approaches, the prospect of the evil powers she is about to receive entices her increasingly.

Company Profile

Increasingly known for its cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary ethos, Vocal Motions Elastic Theatre is committed to bridging the gap between music theatre and cutting edge performance. At the heart of our work is our interest in the integration of text, vocal music and contemporary choreography - and in the fact that this integration can at once be complex in terms of skill, yet immediate in conveying our stories. Our projects are designed to be adaptable to virtually all spaces. Unlike site-specific performance, however, we do not restrict our stagings to one space per production, but endeavour to keep reinventing each show to best respond to the aesthetics of the different locations we use.

Supported by The Facility: Performance as Research at LondonMet, and also in collaboration with Teatro Integrato Internazionale (Rome) and Centre de Creation de Recherche et des Cultures (Grenoble), Vocal Motions Elastic Theatre has presented its stage-works internationally since 2001.

As an umbrella organisation, based both in London and Rome, Vocal Motions is a network of artists and researchers specialising in voice and movement, within the fields of performance, music, actor training and communication.

Our new initiative Borderline Opera, launching in 2009, will explore the boundaries of contemporary opera and music theatre through stage-works, discussion events and a new educational programme.

Vocal Motions training method is articulated in Jacek Ludwig Scarso's book Voce Per Ogni Giorno, published in Italy by Armando Editore.

For further details on the company's work, visit

Cast & Crew

Medousa         Maya Sapone

Perseus           Fernando Balsera Pita

Cello               Carina Drury

Flute              Eva Caballero

Librettist                       Jacek Ludwig Scarso

Score                           Devised collaboratively by the Company, based on   vocal improvisations by Maya Sapone   

Musical Supervisor       Andrew Morley

Dramaturg                    Rishi Trikha

Movement Coach      Chiara D'Anna

Costume Designer         Giovanni Gobbi

Production Assistant        Drew Turner

Concept and Direction      Jacek Ludwig Scarso


Write-up in Vingt Paris

"Haunting... Snakily neurotic... Fabulously hot-blooded performance."
--The Times

"Imaginative... Bursts of lyricism."
--The Daily Telegraph

"Impressive ...Multi-disciplined, cross-cultural and trans-national theatre company Vocal Motions Elastic marks itself out."
--Time Out

"The work Elastic is producing is unusual, exciting and innovative ... keep an eye out for this company as they have an exceptionally promising future producing pioneering and inventive theatre".
--Fringe Review