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Bening Returns to Stage with Modern Twist on ‘Medea’

After establishing herself as a star of the silver screen, Annette Bening has returned to her roots as a stage actor with a modern interpretation of Euripides' classical Greek play, "Medea."

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The story is an old one: in age, nearly 2,500 years; and in plot, a scorned wife who seeks revenge after her husband leaves her for another woman.

  • ANNETTE BENING, actress:

    He was everything to me, and now he's the vilest man alive, my husband.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    But Euripides' "Medea" takes revenge to a shocking extreme, killing her two children, and the role remains one of theater's most challenging.

  • ANNETTE BENING:

    Forget you loved them. For one short day, forget, then weep.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Appearing in a new production at UCLA Live in Los Angeles, Annette Bening says the key is connecting to shared human emotions.

  • ANNETTE BENING:

    I think most of us have felt a germ of what the great roles have. Most of us have. I think most of us have fallen in love. I think most of us have felt betrayed. Most of us have betrayed someone.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The production came about when Bening met Croatian theater director Lenka Udovicki at a dinner party. The two women, both working moms, hit it off im mediately.

  • ANNETTE BENING:

    We started to talk, and then we just couldn't stop talking, basically.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    But you weren't talking about "Medea"? You were talking about doing something?

  • LENKA UDOVICKI, director:

    Well, we were talking about everything else, but…

  • ANNETTE BENING:

    But — our families, our children. I have four children; she has three children. I have one husband; she has one husband.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    That Annette Bening has a husband, Warren Beatty, is, of course, known to all. She's a leading Hollywood celebrity and an acclaimed film actress…

  • ANNETTE BENING:

    You are seeing it.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    … first getting attention in early movies like "The Grifters," later nominated for Academy Awards for performances in "American Beauty"…

  • ANNETTE BENING:

    Your father seems to think this kind of behavior is something to be proud of.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    … and "Being Julia."

  • ANNETTE BENING:

    Perhaps we should punish you.