From April 5 – 7, the Robert E. Sinclair “Black Box” Theatre will host the VegS.O.U.P. production of Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice.” Though some might be familiar with the Greek myth, Ruhl’s adaptation offers a modern and quirky take on the classical Greek story.
The play focuses on the young lovers Eurydice and Orpheus on the brink of their marriage. When tragedy strikes and Eurydice is sent on the path of death to the underworld, their lives take a drastic turn.
The actors’ modern garb makes the uniqueness of the production obvious from the start. Freshman Charlotte Cwikowski lights up the stage with her natural presence and youthful energy. Junior Russell Allen plays opposite her as the wistful Orpheus. Allen made an impression this year in “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Spring Awakening.” He continues to show his diversity as an actor in the role of the tragic musician.
Ruhl’s play highly emphasizes Eurydice’s relationship with her deceased father. Although the father is not prominent in the original myth, Ruhl adds an interesting dynamic by creating his character. Senior Nicholas Cotrupi depicts him with immense warmth and sensitivity.
The presence of the Lord of the Underworld (senior Ben Durland) juxtaposes that of Eurydice’s father. Although sinister, the Lord provides a certain amount of comic relief as he rides into hell on a bicycle. The Stones, a Greek chorus of the underworld, serve as snarky narrators during Eurydice’s time in the world of the dead. Graduate student Samuel Plotkin leads the group as Big Stone followed by Loud Stone (sophomore Melissa Niknam) and Little Stone (junior Dara Gell). Niknam nearly steals the show with her brash comments that live up to her “stone” title.
Ruhl’s use of heavily poetic language can be a bit draining for the audience at times, but the actors deliver the lines flawlessly, giving life to what could be overly ambitious prose.
Abstract sound effects highlight most of the show. As Eurydice and Orpheus stand on the docks, audience members can hear the sound of rushing water. In contrast, the underworld is stressed with eerie sounds from dripping pipes.
The set is minimalistic, a favorite style for a black box setting. Various platforms are utilized to separate the living from the dead. Abstract set pieces such as a wired sculpture and metal bars emphasize the otherworldly feel of the production. Senior Director Kristina Tortoriello and junior Assistant Director Melyssa Hall have a distinct vision that comes through vividly on stage.
Whether you are a fan of Greek mythology or not, this production will bring you in with its powerful ideas of mortality and obsession. “Eurydice” is showing from April 5 – 7. Tickets are available at the Brodie Box Office or online for $6.