A Contemporary Reinvention of the Orpheus Myth from Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Sarah Ruhl
Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl as the first faculty-directed theatre production of 2011. This dreamlike play is a contemporary retelling of the Orpheus myth from the perspective of Eurydice, his wife. Performances will take place at 8:00 P.M. on April 7th and 8th, and at 2:00 and 8:00 P.M. on April 9th, at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Seeler Studio Theatre.
Playwright Sarah Ruhl drew her inspiration for the play from ancient Greek mythology. But in this version, Eurydice is more than just a helpless nymph awaiting rescue. The play raises more questions than answers. Was her untimely death just fate, or something more? If she had to live her life again, would she still choose marriage to Orpheus? Audiences will wonder, what would any of us do with a second chance?
Director Alex Draper, Assistant Professor of Theatre and a Middlebury alumnus from the class of 1988, was drawn to this play because of its themes of love, loss, life, and memory. Eurydice hinges on the relationship between parents and children, especially between fathers and daughters. “Where I am in my life, I’m halfway between these characters: I’m old enough to have growing children, and young enough to have memories of my now-deceased parents.” Like Draper, the play’s characters in the play struggle with the burden of memory.
The New York Times calls Eurydice “a tenderhearted comedy, weird and wonderful, devastatingly lovely... rhapsodically beautiful. A weird and wonderful new play—an inexpressibly moving theatrical fable about love, loss, and the pleasures and pains of memory.” Reviewer Charles Isherwood adds, “Oh, yeah, and it may just be the most moving exploration of the theme of loss that the American theater has produced since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, although Ms. Ruhl began work on the play before that terrible day.”
Playwright Sarah Ruhl has earned many theatrical accolades. Her play The Clean House earned a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005. Her other works, including Passion Play, Eurydice, and Dead Man’s Cell Phone have been produced at prestigious theatres such as Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, and Playwrights’ Horizons. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. Her Broadway debut came in 2009 with In the Next Room at the Lyceum Theatre; the play became another Pulitzer Prize finalist and earned her several Tony award nominations in 2010.
The production at Middlebury features actors Gillian Durkee ’12, Willy McKay ’11, Dustin Schwartz ’11, Ben Orbison ’12, Alicia Evancho ’12, Christina Fox ’13, and Jennifer Johnston ’14. Jordan Jones ’13 is the stage manager; Sasha Rivera ’12 is the assistant director. The set design is by Ryan Bates ’11, with lights by Professor of Theatre Mark Evancho, and costumes co-designed by Carlie Crawford ’11 and Artist in Residence Jule Emerson.
A Behind-the-Scenes Lunch and Discussion for Eurydice will take place on Tuesday, April 7th, at 12:30 P.M. Performances will take place at 8:00 P.M. on April 7th and 8th, and at 2:00 and 8:00 P.M. on April 9th. All events take place at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Seeler Studio Theatre. Tickets for Eurydice are $10 for the general public; $8 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, and alumni; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets or information, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at http://go.middlebury.edu/tickets or 802-443-6433.
Photos Cameron Ferrey '11