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Performing Arts Program puts on ‘Eurydice’

Fall play brings its audience to life with humor of the dead

Christine McManigal, Staff Reporter
Originally published October 31, 2015

Christine McManigal

Orpheus (junior Diego Roberts-Buceta) and Eurydice (senior Isabelle Mar) embrace as she accepts his marriage proposal.

When reading or listening to Greek mythology, we often associate these stories we take in with woe and tragedy. Admittedly there is a breadth of melancholia in Ancient Greek literature.

The story of Eurydice (senior Isabelle Mar) is no exception. However, “Eurydice” a modern retelling by Sarah Ruhl, changes that. Rather than watching Orpheus (junior Diego Roberts-Buceta) mourn the loss of his wife, we watch Orpheus mourn the loss of his wife, with humor.

In “Eurydice” we see the story of Orpheus and Eurydice from an unheard angle, Eurydice’s point-of-view. Through her eyes we see what the dead must encounter when traveling to the underworld. We feel our hearts ache at the bittersweet reunion between father and daughter and feel revolted when courted by the Lord of the Underworld.

Despite the sadness and devastation that the character’s encounter again and again, the audience can’t help but laugh at the mirth behind the actors’ words and actions.

One of the most melancholy moments of the play is when Eurydice (senior Isabelle Mar) dies on her wedding night and travels to the underworld. There she is greeted by a Chorus of Stones (seniors Aisha Carpenter, Camaira Metz and Zoe Adamson). While the Chorus contains the gloomiest, most cynical of characters in the play, they still manage to at least raise a quizzical brow when they describe the language of the dead.

Little Stone: It’s a very quiet language.

Loud Stone: Like if the pores in your face opened up and talked.

Big Stone: Like potatoes sleeping in the dirt.

The Chorus of Stones, in grimy wedding dresses and veils look at Big Stone (Metz) as if she’s said something stupid, with their white and gaunt-like features set in lowered eyes and pursed lips.

As if being trapped in the Underworld wasn’t bad enough, Eurydice soon faces another challenge — the Lord of the Dead has taken a liking to her. He rides about on his tasseled tricycle and shivers in pleasure when Eurydice speaks close in his ear. If that weren’t enough, he tells Eurydice that he’s ready to be a man, in all senses of the word and sensually blows in her face.

However, the Lord of the Underworld is too short for Eurydice so what does he do? He grows, of course and when we encounter the Lord again, he is now inhumanly tall at nearly 10 feet.

So often stories that have themes such as love, loss and death leave an audience drowning itself in tears. But at least in this year’s fall play, we can cry while choking on peals of laughter. “Eurydice” will be performing again on Oct. 30 and 31 at 7:30 in the Earl Kelly Performing Arts Center.

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Performing Arts Program puts on ‘Eurydice’