4/18/2013 3:00 PM
As one of the most innovative contemporary playwrights around, Sarah Ruhl succeeds at setting her plays in strange worlds that live somewhere between realism and fantasy. Her Eurydice is an adaptation of the classic myth told through the eyes of the titular character rather than her husband Orpheus, and this retelling is stunning. Ruhl understands that important new playwriting should not concern itself with being easily produced, and as a result, the most striking moment of the play (and to many technical directors, most intimidating) is when Eurydice arrives in the underworld by way of an elevator in a downpour. She has died on her wedding day to Orpheus, and reunites with her late father in the afterlife, who helps her with the transition despite her stubborn refusal to forget her past love.
Translating the strange, dreamlike world to the stage and finding that balance in performance is difficult, but aided greatly by Ruhl’s unusually captivating stage directions that give hints to the tone of characters’ lines and further description of technical elements. This play, as with all of Sarah Ruhl’s writing, feels like going on a delightful journey, while still conveying more serious themes of lost love, temptation, and acceptance of your fate.
4/25/2013 9:25 PM
Eurydice is a play of poetry and theatrical magic, both in language and in spectacle. Part of its beauty lies in the opportunities it provides for designers. It features my favorite contemporary use of the Greek chorus, a trio of stones who are essential in keeping the play grounded in its mystical, subterranean take on death. Ruhl gives the myth her own twist, focusing on Eurydice herself and thus creating a play about family and memory more than romantic love or music, and one almost as funny as it is poignant and original.
5/7/2013 1:21 AM
Sarah Ruhl's lyrical look at the traditional myth of Orpheus and Eurydice focuses on the female perspective. Countless authors through the years have taken a crack at the ancient myth of the two lovers, but this is entirely different. Though the basic premise remains the same, Ruhl’s use of the story as a metaphor for contemporary female issues turns Eurydice into an intelligently poetic tale.
After Eurydice's impossibly blissful wedding to Orpheus, her curiosity for a strange man leads to her death. In death she forgets her past, but her previously deceased father helps her to remember. After Eurydice finds happiness in death with her father, Orpheus successfully finds her. As he takes her up to the living she cries out for the fear of returning to the world of the living or the desire to remain with her father in the land of the dead. Through this, Ruhl takes a look at the classic bride through the eyes of a contemporary female. This allows many parallels to be drawn, including the desire of the mysterious and the pull between the eternal love of fathers and home to the (at times) shallow love of husbands and lovers.
Young, poetic, and sexy this play would be a joy for any college to work on. However, the technical demands are high. The script, itself, is strong enough to stand on its own, but the stage directions call for inventiveness from the designers. Ruhl’s script, more poetic than expository, allows for a good deal of play for directors and actors. There lies a healthy bit of irreverence, fun, and tenderness behind each line that begs to be explored.