There is an old Greek myth about Orpheus, a chief of poetry and music, and his wife Eurydice, who unexpectedly dies. The myth tells of Orpheus’ journey to the underworld, how his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, and his attempt to bring her back, with no luck, to the upper world.
In her odd and abstract play, “Eurydice”, Sarah Ruhl retells this age-old story of Orpheus and Eurydice, giving it a fresh, modern atmosphere, while also shifting the focus to the perspective of Eurydice, rather than her lover. It’s what Eurydice discovers in the belly of the beast about love, loss and the pains of memory that is the primary focus of Ruhl, which opened last night at the Mainstage Theatre of Sam Houston’s Theatre Department.
“Eurydice” is a very abnormal play that doesn’t necessarily fit the parameters of most productions. ?The airy and sometimes illogical sequence that “Eurydice” partakes in could either annoy viewers, or mystify them.
But in order for “Eurydice” to grab hold of your attention, and not let go, you have to give yourself to the idiosyncratic dialogue, the oddly powerful imagery, and most importantly, the great depth of emotion that can be found interwoven through the plays incongruity.
The lovers in the play, Tasheena Miyagi (Eurydice) and Garret Storms (Orpheus), for me didn’t completely grasp the theme that should beseech the haunting story of Orpheus and Eurydice, but rather vacuous high school sweethearts. But, both played their roles very well, especially near the ending of the play where pain and emotion replaced the foolishness that persisted in the beginning.
The highlight of the production is the sincere and emotional acting of Sam Weeks (Eurydice’s Father), who with ease is able to grip the audience with his near flawless acting. His tear-producing, heart rendering portrayal of being able to see his daughter’s progression through life, even mimicking the act of walking her down the aisle on her wedding day, is what seemingly holds the play together at times, producing such profound emotional response.
Dayne Lathrop (Nasty Interesting Man/Lord of the Underworld) produces great duality in his character by acting with more than just his voice and in the process manufactures a great character. With him are the stones, Jarrel Rochelle (Big Stone), Ashtyn Sonner (Loud Stone) and Adena Nelson (Little Stone) who create a great intensity during the underworld scenes.
While the play has the potential to entertain, for some, it may fall short. It all depends on how you choose to view it. And while the acts were great, there were a few details that can be obstructive to an audience.
The blurred and fast paced transactions of performers left me not too clear what was actually going on at times, and for someone who doesn’t know the story, will be left utterly in the dark.
There were also the overbearing sound effects that felt forced, unnecessary and genuinely crass at times. And while the music played throughout was perfect in its placement and beautiful, the abrupt stopping took away from performances at times.
By and large, the play has the potential to entertain, but the viewer must opt for an open mind and be willing to succumb to the vision of Thomas Prior’s (Director) sensitivity and stylistic approach to this poignant story of love.