Eurydice opens in BoltonGAMBIER, Ohio (February 2, 2009) An inventive reimagining of the Orpheus myth from the point of view of the female character takes the spotlight as the second mainstage production in the 2008-09 Bolton Theater series. Playwright Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, directed by Associate Professor of Drama Daniel Elihu Kramer, will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, February 5 and 6, and at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 7. The earlier curtain on Saturday allows those attending Philander's Phling to see the play if they wish.
Artistic renditions of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice generally put Orpheus' experience at the center of the story. In most versions, Orpheus wins the opportunity to lead his Eurydice back to earth from the underworld, only to lose her a second time when he contravenes the injunction not to look back at her on the journey. Ruhl, a young and already accomplished playwright, has reinterpreted this tale of lovers separated by death, infusing it with a sensibility both tender and comic. She also brings to bear on the story her own deeply personal experience, including the loss of her father.
"At a place like Kenyon where we believe that old stories have meaning and are worthy of fresh investigation, this seems like an ideal play," said Kramer.
The play takes up themes of memory and identity: If no one remembers us, do we retain our identities? What preserves those we have loved? If we cannot remember our lives, do we lose ourselves?
Yet in taking up these searching questions, Eurydice is at once heart-breaking and, in Kramer's words, "enormously funny, full of unexpected moments." A Greek chorus of bossy stones work hard to make everyone behave appropriately in the afterlife. The dead arrive in the underworld via an elevator. The lord of the underworld appears but has trouble getting anyone to take him seriously.
"The language of the play throughout is alternately, or often simultaneously, beautiful and comical," said Kramer. "It is also a love story, but not the one we may initially expect."
The strong cast is headlined by seniors Daisy Linden as Eurydice and Charlie Cromer as Orpheus. The Father is played by Japhet Balaban and the Lord of the Underworld by Knud Adams, both seniors. The snarky Greek chorus of Stones are acted by sophomores Matt Crowley and Emma Farnsworth, and senior Hannah Fenlon. Senior Rachel Szymanski carries out the demanding job of stage manager.
Costumes are designed by Andrew Reinert, associate professor of drama, with set and light design by visiting drama professor Hugh Lester.
Tickets cost $5 for general admission; $2.50 for group admission; $2 for seniors, children, and non-Kenyon students; and $1 for Kenyon students. Running time is approximately 90 minutes.